Going that Extra Mile: Taking the Next Step with Savor South Madison

It is important to realize our progress and placement within social media.  Yes, we have created our profiles, we have found influencers and we have produced quality content.  However, there must be more.  Much, much more.

Mansfield and Kantor & Kind give a surface approach to social media in the nonprofit field, however, as stated previously, we have already skimmed the surface: we must dive into the deep end and learn to tread water the hard way.   What this means is we must become more strategic in our attempts to utilize the new media techniques and become more willing to take risks.  Thus, the simple #SavorSouthMad does not suffice, because frankly, no one will be searching that.  We need to not only interact more but to also engage more.  With a not-so-great ratio of followers to following, we must boost that.  This means not only using the techniques discussed in both works – like retweeting others and using multiple hashtags – but also digging down deeper past the foundation.  This deeper-level means retweeting those who can join our followers team.  This can be achieved by retweeting and engaging with users who are connected to our organization, both wholeheartedly and by thin threads.  With a simple retweet, other users find out more about us.  What about other universities?  What about other service organizations.  We must not skim the surface but completely jump in.  Branching out will allow us to grow more fluidly and rapidly.  This is a must.

The next idea that the authors discuss is the idea of listening.  I find this to be misleading.  We cannot just listen and do the latter of responding – there must be more interaction.  We must find creative and innovative ways to find users and find followers.  With a ghostly presence, we cannot grow.  With new techniques, this will attract those who are “scared” of social media or are “not using it.”  This enticing aspect will draw users in more readily and easily because of the unique aspect.  This means not only offline attraction but further strategic planning.  Use trending hashtags.  Use interesting ideas and content.  We must gain a following in order to achieve greatness.  By attempting new campaigns that weave other users into our media networks, we can grow our presence.  The Red Cross in Kantor & Kind’s example listen and engage.  We, as a much MUCH MUCH smaller entity, must do much MUCH MUCH more.

Be smart.  Be unique.  Be Savor South Madison.  Showing the social media networks that we are a driving force in the nonprofit sphere will exalt us into the place we want to be.


Millenializing Gen-X, Gen-Y and those Gosh-Darn Baby Boomers: Achieving New Media Access for Older Generations

The important aspect to understand about new media techniques is that we as pre-millennials do not realize the extent those who do not use social media.  Because of our deep – and boy do I mean deep – immersion into the vast waters of social media, we forget that not everyone is as savvy as we are.  We, then, must strive to give said strangers an equal opportunity for friendship with this important lifestyle.

To achieve this, we must understand that many people do not have the skills.  Some may be scared of the unknown, some may use it for personal gain but find no other need.  We need to curb these philosophies and create a new schema.  Thus, by using more offline techniques intertwined with new media techniques, we can help create better associations and understandings.  This will then allow for those to ease into their feared abyss.  Offline technology is comfortable for those who do not have the skills.  Online is not.  By merging the two mentalities, we can create a new comfort level for these individuals.  Although it is tougher to reach this market, we must increase our coalition connections because this is their specialty.  Older generations are a part of groups and other face-to-face programs.  By connecting with these groups – even if loosely associated with our own – will allow for others to know more and attempt to join the new fields.

This is not easy.  Thus, we must teach and show and foster growth.  This then can be utilized to help gain an audience that does not only have the skills, but also those who do not have the access.  By using the offline media techniques, we can teach and show those who THINK they do not have access actually do have access – and a lot of it.  It is this unknown that stops these users.  Thus, similar to those who do not have the skills, we must teach and show and foster growth by attempting to showcase the possibilities that exist in different communities.  Whether it is by hosting learning groups or just showcasing the access hotspots, it is possible that these who have no access will find access.

In this time, the skills and access for new media is everywhere.  We are swimming in an ocean of media, however, we must take the time to empathize and forget that we are not the only ones treading water: that there are many drowning in that ocean.  We must throw out our lifesaver and teach these novices the skills, knowledge and information that we possess.  Only by doing that can we grow as an organization.


Case Study: Keep a Child Alive

Haven’t you always wondered what Kim Kardashian eats for breakfast, lunch, mid-day snack and for dinner?  We all know you do, that’s why you follow her on Twitter.  That’s why you follow every celebrity on Twitter, right?  It’s that personal connection with the unattainable friend/celebrity that draws each individual closer to their ideas.  

But what if one day, it just stopped?  You couldn’t see Kim’s new hat for the Kentucky Derby. You couldn’t hear about Usher’s new up-in-coming artist.  You couldn’t know what new show Ryan Seacrest was hosting.  What if it was just gone?

That is what Keep A Child Alive wondered and enacted in December of 2010.  On World AIDS Day, 18 celebrities died – well digitally of course.  Their tweets silenced and their posted restrained.  This act of personal censorship was to fundraise money for children in need of medical and living help in Africa – especially children affected by AIDS.  Thus, to resuscitate your favorite celebrity and let them rise out of the multimedia coffins, you had to donate.

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Click Photo for Video of Campaign

It took only six days for the organization to reach their goal of one million dollars, however even afterward, people continued to donate, ultimately reach over 1.4 million dollars.  

Because of the timing of this event, it is important to understand that the take-home message is not about social media presence and activity; it is about innovation and creativity.  People could not deal with the disruption in the social media world and had to put a stop to it by donating.  This shows then the importance of social media and its great affects on marketing strategy.  If it only took 6 days in 2010, how long do you think it would take now?


A Rich Culture with a Story for All

When analyzing the area of South Madison as a whole, there are way too many different facets to take into consideration. After our bus tour on Saturday, Sept. 27, those said facets suddenly clicked. I started to understand what South Madison truly is for all of its glory.

To first delve into the wonders of South Madison, it is important to look at character of its individuals. When meeting with a variety of individuals, I clearly saw that there is no one stereotype or idiosyncrasy. The people of South Madison are all diverse with different views and different lives and different cultures and different goals. Each individual that I was given the opportunity to speak to showed something that no one else portrayed. Whether it be Margaret’s drive for change, Melly’s support for family or the Lane’s Bakery customer’s love of familiarity, each member shared an inveterate desire to be apart of the culture and of the town itself. There was a shared sense of belonging and integrity that shined through each individual.

Now, I’m from New York where I am the anomaly to talk to strangers and have a conversation and have a glued on smile. On my travels to the Midwest, this proved to be a little different. People always talk to strangers. People always have conversations. People always have a glued on smile. I understood that this would most likely occur in South Madison – as it does in Madison in general. However, the moment I walked into Melly Mel’s and saw Melly’s heartfelt grin, I lost it. I melted. I felt as if I was home again, eating my mother’s not-anywhere-near-as-good food, talking with my family, laughing to stories. Melly knew she made up a special aspect of the community that no one else could. She was special – as is everyone in the community. From meeting the array of people on that Saturday, I learned that everyone brings something to the table. Everyone has a story.

When it comes to food in South Madison, I think that there are many similarities. The idea of a celebration of culture comes to mind. Each eatery is a chunk of the conglomerate of diversity. Each eatery has it’s own story. Whether it was Melly Mel’s family atmosphere or Mercado Marimar’s traditional emphasis, these staples of South Madison display the stories and the openness of South Madison.

It is with these different aspects and these rich culture epicenters, that organizations attempt to maintain and build the structure and diversity of South Madison. With the gardening projects and the food-system programs, organizations attempt to protect the beauty, the culture and the survival of South Madison.

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The idea of new communications can help the people of South Madison connect more and help fuel their culture blossoming through extreme communication output of a source and hopeful high input of the community. In Miller’s book, The Nonprofit Marketing Guide: High-impact, Low Cost Ways to Build Support, he writes that new communication technologies are helpful for any marketing brand:

he writes, “Web 2.0, or social media, allows people to connect, converse, and collaborate with others more easily, regarding less of time zones or geographic boundaries. Several online tools allow you to tap into these online conversations to learn even more about how people feel about your cause.”

It is important to do what Miller says about personal contact and listening, however, social media is able to act as the medium to more easily do so.

There is only one problem. The use of communication technologies – let alone new communication technologies – is not as prevalent as it hopefully could be. With the digital divide, it is more difficult to reach these residents of South Madison. With the affluent people, it would be much easier to get their attention and market towards them. With the less affluent people, it is much more difficult. Thus, we must market to the places where they can come into contact with these new communication technologies, i.e. the libraries. Also, we must try to get these specific staples of the South Madison culture – the restaurants, the people and the organizations – to advocate social media. With their inclusion, in due time, social media and new communication technologies will become second nature.


To Go or not to Go? That is the Question

After learning about the wonders that South Madison has to offer, it confused me as to why the area was lacking popularity among university students and community denizens.  This shortage of community participation is due to motivation.  In this post I will discuss the obstacles that motivation creates towards our short and long term goals of bridging.

For students, there is a lack of knowledge and desire to go into South Madison.  This is the major setback in the attempt of bridging South Madison to the rest of the city.  With exciting culture and mouth-watering food, South Madison has so much to offer, however, students do not know about it.  When looking at Stroud’s article on selective exposure, she states that partisans both consciously and unconsciously choose to neglect information for multiple reasons.  Whether it is because of cognitive dissonance or the need for, these theories pertain to the situation in South Madison as well.  Stroud writes,” A need for nonspecific closure, or the need to find a solution without any regard for what the solution is, motivates a pattern of ‘seizing’ and ‘freezing’ in information seeking.”  This is why students are not making the short trip to South Madison.  They have everything they need right at their fingertips.  There is no need to break the cycle of complacency.  Students – and I do this too – have fallen into the same routine doing the same thing with the same people at the same time every single day.  They have frozen their need to explore and gain more information.  They have no motivation to enter South Madison and explore the wonders that it offers.

So how do we fix this lack of bridging?

I understand the past campaign strategies, however, in the grand scheme of things, they have not worked.  We cannot show students what South Madison has to offer and simply hope they show up.  There needs to be incentive.  There needs to be desire.  Our campaign strategy needs to change from just displaying the culture of South Madison to physically bringing the students to South Madison.  That is, we as Savor South Madison must make our name more known to students.  Whether it is by following more people on twitter or incentives on Facebook or simply bringing our friends to the restaurants in South Madison, students nee to initially take the trek out there.  Students must thaw off their frozen routines and information seeking processes.  Students must understand what South Madison has to offer by experience, not by knowledge.  We must use our technology and social media; however, we first have to have students know what is out there.  To do so, we have to have events that are fun and worthwhile.  We must highlight places in South Madison that would appeal to students.  We must highlight the actual food to bring the students in for the quality of food.  If we highlight these aspects of South Madison, it will become part of their frozen routines – it will be second nature.

Yes, the people of South Madison need to be bonded together, however, I think for this semester, we must focus mainly on the bridging of the university and South Madison.  We can use technology for the students – it is tougher for the community.  We must increase the knowledge of South Madison with the students by putting it right in front of their face.  Once they know about the attractions of South Madison, they will keep coming back for the culture and the fun and the environment and everything else that the community has to offer.  The university is such an amazing resource for South Madison just as South Madison is to the university.


A Stranger in a New Land: Soaking in South Madison for its Glory

As I boarded the bus down Park Street, I found a seat expecting a same-thing-different-day kind of festival.  Yet, as I boarded the bus down Park Street and began to travel and see this novel place, I grew more eager and excited.  With little knowledge of the area, I never experienced South Madison, besides the casual drive-by or the awkward, went-the-wrong-way-to-Target adventure.  This was new.  This was fresh.  As a New York suburbanite thrown into the Midwest, I constantly want to experience more and see more and do more and live more.  By attending Celebrate South Madison, I did just that.

 

As people started to show up, I began to see not only a diverse culture, but also a curious one.  Many floated in and floated out simply because they saw the excitement and the energy that radiated throughout the field.  After some initial interviews and some background knowledge, this idea of cultural diversity and ever-improvement was rooted deeply in everyone’s mind.  It was awakening to see such a differently dispersed area of Madison – mainly because the diverse, yet actually-not-as-diverse-as-we-think university community consumes the lives of students.

 

My reaction to the festival proved to be much different than my expectations.   With a community that is so involved in their diversity and their culture and their improvements and their pride, I was slightly surprised by the attendance at the festival.  However, with the young age of this festival and the increasing support from the community, I know that this festival will take off and become a staple of the area.  With some creativity and some elbow grease, this will happen.  It is the love for the community that keeps them soldiering on through some proverbial battlegrounds.  It is their love for their community that keeps them constantly building and growing.  It is their love for their community that keeps them here.

 

This love is diverse; this love is strong.