The Social Media for Good roundup for non-profit professionals

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The “Social Media for Good roundup” is an infrequent series of posts where I share interesting links I found on the web. This week with: Twitter tips, Google Earth revelations, relationship mapping, social media team management and more.

Nonprofit Tech 2.0 has published this article about which tweets work best for non-profit organizations. Rather than looking at it as a prescriptive list, I would suggest you look at your last 50 tweets, see how many of them fit into the criteria presented in this article and then look at how these tweets performed. I think this can be a good tool to help you analyze what works well for your supporters.

Did you know, that with Google Earth you cannot only see the most current satellite image of an area, but that you can also look at historical images? This article shows how these historical images can be used to document displacement, environmental degradation or other dramatic changes over time. Whether important events in your area of interest are covered by the satellite images is hit and miss, but it’s definitely worth checking out and it seems to me that Google increases the frequency with which it publishes images for areas of public interest, such as currently the borders of Syria.

If you are working for a non-profit organization, then reading that the average enterprise-class corporate social media team consists of 11 people will probably make you cry. After all, most NGOs and humanitarian organizations have only one or two people assigned to this task, and frequently this isn’t even their main job. Nevertheless I think this list is useful: it explains the different roles and responsibilities that need to be covered, no matter whether you are 15 or 3 people. If nothing else, it might give you a basis to discuss the current setup of your social media team with the budget holder. I also really like the “What no one tells you” column that gives some additional ideas on the skills people need to fulfill that role.

Earlier this week, Yahoo, Twitter and a Japanese real estate developing firm ran an exercise with 100 volunteers to see how Twitter could be used in case of a major earthquake. Interestingly, there was no mention of local or civil defence authorities or the Red Cross being involved. Obviously this raises a few question marks in my mind, but I’d be interested in seeing the results and lessons learned of the exercise nevertheless.

The International Journalism Network just wrote about “Poderia”, an open source project that won the 2011 Knight New Challenge and which can be used to map the relationships between people and organizations . In the interview, CEO Miguel Paz talks about how it can be used to map the relationship between elites, but I think this could be a great tool outside of journalism. I can for example see how this could be useful when mapping the relationships between different actors in a complex emergency or keep track of who is doing what in disaster – kind of like a better W3 matrix. Poderia is currently only available in Spanish and will start a private beta soon, but it might be a tool to keep an eye on.

I have suffered through two website relaunches and one of the problems we faced was that most of our PDFs (for example appeal documents) contained URLs which would not be valid anymore after the relaunch. We solved this problem through rather complex re-write rule on the server, but it wasn’t fun. Inceni claims to have a product with which you can search and replace URLs in PDFs. I haven’t tried InFix yet (the Pro edition costs 129 €, a free trial version is available)  but it certainly sounds interesting.

Block Posters is a random website that I discovered this week and which saves a problem that I’ve had many times: how do you print an infographic or a poster that is too big to fit on one page? I know there are printers that allow you to spread an image over multiple sheets, but somehow I have never had one. At Block Posters you simply upload your image (JPG or GIF), define over how many pages you want to spread it and the website returns a PDF that follows those dimensions