Review of MEASURING THE NETWORKED NONPROFIT by Kanter & Paine

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Jan 212013
 

WM-expenses-pie-2006 Attempting to become more effective in my volunteer capacities with nonprofits and social media, I read “Measuring the Networked Nonprofit” by Beth Kanter and Katie Delahaye Paine. Published in Autumn 2012, I was hoping for something up-to-date and this book did not disappoint. Most of the references and tools mentioned are current. That hasn’t always been the case for me when reading books related to social media where things tend to change rapidly.

What is excellent about this book is it takes models and theories, for example “ladder of engagement,” and presents these in everyday language, tying in practical advice, current means of measurement, and examples. This helps make complexities of measurement more accessible to those in nonprofits who deal with social media and presenting its results to decision makers. My perspective is that of a volunteer for largely volunteer run organizations, so I had to translate for that regarding the small staff discussions throughout the book. I imagine the same would be true of mid-size nonprofit employers, having to translate back to a smaller scale concern, but I believe this book would be applicable for quite a range of nonprofits.

That is not to say I found the book perfect. For one, transitions between topics can be rather abrupt within chapter narratives, even for a nonfiction book about technical issues. Also, future editions of “Measuring the Networked Nonprofit” should correct the one key weakness within it – the examples were rather hit or miss. First, the hypothetical Katie’s Kat Shelter (KKS) was used so many times that it hindered rather than forwarded the points being made. How likely are such concepts and measures to work in the real world if the text’s examples have to be imagined to write about? Even the real world examples needed more care. The full-page SeaWorld example in the chapter on relationship building may indeed be applicable to social media for organizations in crisis, but SeaWorld is a business, not a nonprofit. That’s not to say that business applications aren’t applicable for nonprofits, it just wasn’t presented that way within this book specifically about measurement for nonprofits.

Those concerns aside, MEASURING THE NETWORKED NONPROFIT is an excellent resource for the times. Making complex analyses more accessible is a worthwhile contribution to those involved in helping nonprofits that seek to help in the world.

Good Storytelling & Benjamin Button

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Sep 112011
 

I finally had both the time and opportunity to watch the film “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.” At two and three-quarter hours in length it is a significant commitment. But, putting aside hectic schedules, it is a film that is well worth viewing.

For those unfamiliar, the character Benjamin Button is born old and reverse ages throughout his life. The film is loosely based on the short story by F. Scott Fitzgerald published in 1922. While there are many facets to the film that are endearing, one of the particularly good features is the use of a retirement home used for Benjamin’s upbringing. By doing that, the story’s setting avoided numerous likely hazards of human interaction and development that would otherwise likely hamper the suspension of disbelief necessary for the viewer to buy into the storyline. The use of the setting again towards the conclusion of the story helps bring the two main protagonists paths together again in full circle.

While there was a great deal about death and the loss of loved ones in the story, other than possibly those struck by lightening, the film didn’t treat that loss lightly. Rather, it spanned enough time so that the passing was woven in as a part of life. Further, while Benjamin’s case placed him in unusual circumstances and did set him apart from the usual progression of family life, there was enough integration into society and its culture for a full life to be had. Also, the unique arc of the story gives it that special something characteristic of good storytelling.

So, if one finds oneself with several hours of free time at a stretch, and are curious about how the filmmakers portray a life where a character ages backwards, “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” is a film that values the life lived, however unusual, while regularly reminding that it is but temporary.

 Posted by at 6:08 pm