Non-Governmental Imagination

NetSquared Warm Fuzzies
February 17, 2006, 6:55 am
Filed under: Blogs, Imagination, Interplast

Note:  The internet crapped out on me, and although I wrote this at 4AM, I am only now getting around to posting it at 10:30PM.  

Wow.  So I’ve just had quite a night.  It’s 4AM and I can’t sleep.  Tonight I co-presented with Mena Trott at the NetSquared Net Tuesday event.  She’s super nice.  Before we talked I told her how nervous she was and she told me to just be myself and not worry about what people will think.  It worked!  I can’t imagine how it could have gone any better.  At Interplast, my role as Youngest Person Who Therefore Obviously Knows A Lot About Computers has been to stumble across new technologies (without spending too much time on the clock looking for them) and convey to the rest of the staff why we should or shouldn’t use them.  I find myself trying to understand complex things and then explain them simply to people even less tech-savvy than myself.  It’s fun, because it helps me understand them more by having to really break down why a particular technology is useful, and not just “cool?. Tonight, I was one of the least knowledgeable people in the room regarding technology, and I just talked about how Interplast has used the blogs to further our mission.  When I had been practicing, I really struggled with how much to talk about Interplast, our blog, our meandering blogging path, the ways in which we’ve screwed up and the ways in which we’ve done something cool.

In the end, I said screw it; I’m just gonna talk.  I wasn’t looking at my notes very much, and I wasn’t trying to portray Interplast in a particularly positive or negative light.  Just how we are, what it’s like to work at an international humanitarian organization that most people haven’t heard of, and some of the successes and failures of our blogs.

Afterwards, lots of people came up to me and gave me pointers and praise.  Their compliments mean a lot, but their tips mean more.  I spend more time than I would like (and staff time = donor money) trying to learn about new technologies that might help us, and how to implement them.  It took me months to figure out how to have videos on our blogs, and I still don’t know how to do it bug-free and with ease.  Maybe now that some techie types are aware of some of the issues I face every day trying to help Interplast help more kids, tools can be developed that can make my job easier.  Or maybe there can just be findable instruction manuals.  Maybe now people will pay attention to our blog, and instead of cruising by and thinking “that’s nice? they might actually leave a comment or write an email about how we could do x better or how we should email the person’s cousin who runs a hospital in India.  Maybe someone can finally explain to me in simple, non-buzzwordy terms how to use our blog to increase donations and please our donors without appearing crass and/or commercial.  Maybe they can convince me, as people tried to tonight (they were about 95% successful), how to not care about what the blogosphere thinks.

There are all kinds of great tools out there (like the Tech Soup forums) that if I was smarter I would spend more time delving into.  But I’m easily intimidated by uber-geekiness and have plenty of right-now issues to deal with otherwise.  Being in a room face-to-face with the people that make the tools I use every day has given me new hope that small nonprofits like Interplast can compellingly reach large numbers of people without celebrity spokespeople, paid ads or powerful friends.  We’re definitely not “there? yet, and I don’t really know where “there? is, but I after tonight I am more confident that we can get “there?, and we’ll have some help along the way.


2 Comments so far
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Seth, I am glad to hear your presentation at Netsquared was successful. I agree with you that since we are young we know alot about computers. It is fun trying to explain to people why different technologies are useful. Using blogs to increase donations seems to be a big topic in nonprofits and blogging. Your instruction manual idea is a great one. I would be interested in finding out what type of instruction you have in mind.

Comment by Emily

Hi Seth — I’m commenting on your blog ages after you presented with Mena, but I wanted to again commend you on your presentation and your online work with Interplast. I’ll be in touch – and don’t forget that you and your gal promised to visit next time you’re in Houston . Cheers – Katie

Comment by Katie

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