Me-Blogged by PSFK

I was surprised and excited today when the awesome guys over at PSFK blogged my responses to a Q&A we did in preparation for the event at SxSW Saturday. Here is the full post, thanks guys!


unicef-renee hamilton-global issues

For our upcoming PSFK SALON at SXSW this year, we’ve invited Renee Alexander to discuss the future of mobile marketing. Renee is Social Media Manager at UNICEF USA. Here are a few questions we asked her in preparation for the event.

What is the most exciting challenge that UNICEF USA is addressing right now?

Challenges are exciting aren’t they? From my perspective it is rejuvenating the brand. Making this historic, venerable organization relevant to the next generation of donor and supporter. This is not to say making it “cool” or “hip” or in-authentic, but the challenge is in introducing or re-introducing the magnitude of what we do and how people can plug in.

Are there any other projects that are currently inspiring your work?

We’re inspired by projects both in and outside of the non-profit world that inspire action and are actually led by the supporters. The social web has spawned a new breed of grassroots activism that has allowed deeper connections to  causes and brands while making taking action and making change easier.

What emerging trend, idea, or technology are your excited to see develop in the future?

Of course mobile is exciting. It’s the always on and always on you connector. Being able to share content, get feedback and inspire people wherever they are is exciting. What’s incredible about mobile is that it has implications across business segments here from fundraising and development which heretofore we have seen with SMS text to give campaigns to in the field projects such as mobile tags on field tents with vital information. We know that even in some of the most destitute developing countries, many families and even children have mobile phones. Imagine the education and community development potential there!

What has been the impact of social media on UNICEF USA’s work?

Beyond communicating information on UNICEF USA’s work in the field, social has really been a prime touch point for younger donors and supporters. To date the use of social has been more management and engagement, in the coming year it’s about pushing the envelope, being strategic and adding  real fundraising goals into the mix.

The old Man and the Little boy

I have frequently in my life written about the injustice to our elders we do in this country. How we are the only culture that devalues our wisest generation. I had a wonderfully serendipitous occurrence years ago when I had written a letter to the editor on this very subject to the Virginia Pilot in Norfolk. I wrote about how my generation looks at elders as bad drivers and people who smell weird and don’t get us. We fail to realize that the things we find cool, like rock n roll, the internet, jeans, freedom, etc were made possible by the old f.a.r.t.s. we sigh and grumble about while waiting in line at the market.

As fate would have it, this letter ran on Veterans Day and was very well received. Lots of responses poured in from veterans, revolutionaries and even a few teen-agers whose parents made them read it and saw the light (i hope). Anyway, the following day an elderly gentleman stumbled into my office. This was odd because my office at the time was in an unmarked building on the 4th floor with  no signage or ease of entry from the ground level. This gentleman wanted to buy a boat.

He wanted to buy a boat to take home to his wife and children; he had just gotten a great job and was determined to by a bout from a Norfolk boat builder. The reality was this gentleman was well over 70 and had boarded a bus from Maryland bound for Norfolk after having walked out of the front door of a home for veterans. He had Alzheimer’s and was lost; though ironically his resolve never let on. The perplexing thing about Alzheimer’s is that the people seem totally resolute and normal, they have no clue they are stricken. It’s sad and odd and disturbing and yet weirdly comforting to me. The few folks that I have come in contact with that have this ailment actually seem fairly at piece most of the time; it’s the loved ones that suffer constantly.

But I am digressing from my point. My co-worker was headed to Portsmouth and drove the gentleman (I think his name was Harry) to the VA hospital there. I recently left Operation Smile as Social Media Strategist, not because I wasn’t happy or didn’t love the work, but I felt the call to help lot’s of causes…use my wacky, creative, strategic mind to help veterans and Alzheimer’s patients and animals and kids in the city that can’t get out of the vicious cycle of poverty and crime.

So I am working with a mobile innovations company, trying to find real solutions to help change the world and I am super excited about some of the things we have on the white board. As I was setting up our Twitter account and following my favorite Twitterers (where’s my list thingy) I came across this incredible thing that the mighty John Haydon’s son is doing to help veterans. His son is doing a “Kick-A-Thon” to help the New England Shelter for Homeless Veterans. A tear came to my eye, my lack of blogging streak ended and I got my credit card out. WE NEED kids like this to help make the world a better place, John must have done something good there because this is an incredible thing, I am hoping you will click here and donate too. And more-over, if you have a little human in your house, how can you get them to open there eyes to need and do something about it?

I’ll leave you with one of my favorite poems that inspired me a s a child to get involved with the elderly-

The Little Boy and the Old Man by Shel Silverstein

Said the little boy, “Sometimes I drop my spoon.”
Said the old man, “I do that too.”
The little boy whispered, “I wet my pants.”
“I do that too,” laughed the little old man.
Said the little boy, “I often cry.”
The old man nodded, “So do I.”
“But worst of all,” said the boy, “it seems
Grown-ups don’t pay attention to me.”
And he felt the warmth of a wrinkled old hand.
“I know what you mean,” said the little old man.

little boy an old man

5 Quick Social Media Tips

I was on a lunch panel at the recent Social Media for Healthcare Communicators summit at the Mayo Clinic. The concept was 30 ideas in 30 minutes and we went rapid fire with a panel that included Lee Aase, Shel Holtz, Heather Harper of Edelman and more. I thought I would post my top 5 tips here for you as an addition to the slide show I posted teh otehr day!
1. Engage all teams and filter concerns and suggestions prior to starting your Social Media efforts. This will reduce push back and allow you to think more strategically about how Social Media can be put to use for your organization.
2. Focus on 1 or 2 channels at first, just on those you will be able to pay attention to. Don’t open a store if you aren’t going to be open for business!
3. Share the wealth; show your support for other like organizations (even your competitor) to build trust and respect as a true industry leader. This also gives you credibility with clients/customers/patients and shows you are not using these channels for sales and pr alone.
4. Engage outside help; don’t feel like you have to be the lone ranger in Social Media for your organization. Engage people who are natural to the medium such as volunteers, receptionists etc to handle day to day basic communication. This frees you up to do the creative strategy to use the channels to reach your desired goals.
5. THINK MOBILE! Mobile is the natural evolution of the personal computer; as you begin to embark on social media, include researching and incorporating mobile so that you are ahead of the curve! (shameless plug can help!