books on the radio

The Networked Nonprofit: An Interview with Allison Fine

Allison Fine and Beth Kanter have written The Networked Nonprofit.

Click to hear my interview with Allison H Fine about the Networked Nonprofit.

The well-respected and highly retweetable duo of Beth Kanter and Allison H Fine have written one of the best books on social media published to date.

One of the best social media books yet published!

The Networked Nonprofit is an excellent, if not inspired, book that helps to contextualize the tools and fundamental ideas at the core of the social media revolution.

Many books have been written about social media as tools for connecting businesses with their customers, improving bottom lines and bringing marketing to the networks.

Some of these books are excellent – Brogan & Smith’s Trust Agents, Barefoot/Szabo’s Friends with Benefits, Mitch Joel’s Six Pixels of Separation to name just three – and many more are average, mediocre or worse.

Beth Kanter and Allison Fine turn their focus on the nonprofit space. Their book is a blueprint for helping traditional nonprofit organizations become ‘networked’; more open and active in the digital space.

The book has an excellent website – – that you should check out immediately for more info AND they have started a wiki which I think is pretty amazing.

More organizations should embrace the wiki, I think.

Anyone who is working to help traditional organizations transition to the social media space, whether they’re nonprofits or not, needs to read this book.

To my friends working with traditional book publishers, you need to read this book!

I hope that you enjoy the interview.  Thanks to Allison H Fine for being kind enough to take the time to answer my questions and to Beth Kanter, who unfortunately couldn’t make it for the interview but kept in touch anyway.  Also thanks to the good people at Jossey-Bass/Wiley – Erika and Meredith – for making this interview happen.

Here’s an example of some of the excellent thinking and writing that happens in this book:

Networked Nonprofits are simple and transparent organizations. They are easy for outsiders to get in and insiders to get out. They engage people to shape and share their work in order to raise awareness of social issues, organize communities to provide services or advocate for legislation. In the long run, they are helping to make the world a safer, fairer, healthier place to live.

Networked Nonprofits don’t work harder or longer than other organizations, they work differently. They engage in conversations with people beyond their walls–lots of conversations–to build relationships that spread their work through the network. Incorporating relationship building as a core responsibility of all staffers fundamentally changes their to-do lists. Working this way is only possible because of the advent of social media. All Networked Nonprofits are comfortable using the new social media toolset–digital tools such as email, blogs, and Facebook that encourage two-way conversations between people, and between people and organizations, to enlarge their efforts quickly, easily and inexpensively.


Friends with Benefits: Darren Barefoot vs Books on the Radio

Darren Barefoot and Julie Szabo wrote Friends with Benefits.

Click here to listen to Darren & Sean talk social media strategy and metrics.

On an overcast day in early April I sat down with one of Vancouver’s true social media/web marketing leaders, Darren Barefoot.  His co-conspirator, wife and figure skating enthusiast Julie Szabo unfortunately couldn’t make it for our meeting.

FWB: the Book.

We sat at Habit Restaurant – which is why you can hear the beautiful ambient sounds of an industrial glass washer in the background – and talked about how to design social media campaigns, how to interpret web analytics and even the inexact calculus for creating a successful web meme.

All of this because not long ago I attended the real-life book launch for Darren and Julie’s book, Friends with Benefits: A Social Media Marketing Handbook.

At a busy gallery in Kitsilano, Darren and Julie gathered together friends, colleagues and clients to share the moment as they showcased their new independently published work.

Published using a small San Francisco-based indie called no starch press, their own ingenuity, talents and passion, and editorial/design assists Darren and Julie put together a really impressive book.

Friends with Benefits separates itself from the ridiculous glut of books attempting to capitalize on the social media surge in a few crucial ways:

1) They understand the technologies and how they fit together.

2) Their language is as clear as it is thorough.

3) They’ve been there.  Made the mistakes, had the successes, openly admit to both.

4) They’re funny, they can relate.

5) They showed that high quality books full of great ideas that are actually useful to people can be published independently and reach a wide audience (FTW!).

So, yes, I’m a fan.

And recognize that I have received about 15 different books on social media in the past 6 months – from the very good, like Mitch Joel’s Six Pixels of Separation to books that are less good, like Twitter Power 2.0 by Joel Comm.

I like what they’ve done and I like how they’ve done it.

I put a lot of their ideas and processes to the test in my own work with Books on the Radio and other projects.  And it works for me.

Our 45 minute conversation recorded in my patented straight off the table style so it’s like you’re sitting at the table with us.

Thanks to Darren for taking the time to talk with me.  I hope that you like the results.

If you’re interested in more of Darren & Julie’s ideas please visit their site: Capulet Communications.

Also, at the end of the conversation we discuss something called Northern Voice.  It’s a two-day, non-profit personal blogging and social media conference held at the UBC main campus, Vancouver, Canada on May 7-8, 2010. This year is the 6th annual incarnation of this event.  I will be there and so will a lot of other fun, creative people.

If there’s still tickets available, I recommend that you buy a few now and be there in May.  It’s going to be great.