You should attend the Word of Mouth Super Genius conference in New York on July 20. Learn from the best in the business, get hands on knowledge from people who are ‘doing’ not just talking, and best of all: support charity: water.
Register for the conference and use the code ‘paullismyhero‘ to get $101 off the registration fee… or you can donate that $101 to the events’ mycharitywater fundraising campaign. By doing so you’ll provide clean water to 5 people in the developing world for 20 years.
I’ve attended dozens of social media and word of mouth conferences over the past few years and I rarely get truly excited for them – Word of Mouth Super Genius is a rare one that bucks that trend. The sessions all focus on short, sharp ‘how to’ information, not the standard ‘social media bingo‘ highlights: ‘customer service is marketing’, ‘social CRM’, ‘United Breaks Guitars’ etc that you’ll hear at each and every conference.
My current commute reading is Clay Shirky’s new tome Cognitive Surplus. His Here Comes Everybody is probably the best book I’ve read on how the Internet is changing our culture, so I’m expecting big things from this read.
A section in chapter 1 stuck out enough for me to share here, as Clay looks at the lessons from Kenya’s Ushahidi site that tracked violence there in 2008:
Like all good stories, the story of Ushahidi holds several different lessons:
People want to do something to make the world a better place
They will help when they are invited to
Access to cheap, flexible tools removes many of the barriers to try new things
You don’t need fancy computers to harness cognitive surplus; simple phones are enough
But one of the most important lessons is this:
Once you’ve figured out how to tap the surplus in a way that people care about, others can replicate your technique, over and over, around the world.
Last monday I checked out our Google Analytics and noticed a big traffic spike on Thursday and Friday. Digging deeper it turned out thousands of visitors were hitting Maggie’s page from Reddit. Looking at the comments we could clearly see this traffic was converting to donations – even anonymous users donating $160 with comments like “Happy birthday Maggie from Reddit! Your concern and dedication for others in the world is inspiring. Please stay exactly as you are!“.
Inspiring to see yet another example of the online community doing good, and more inspiring to hear from Maggie that the experience changed her life.
Your campaign exploded right after your dad put a his post on reddit. In three days, you had 5,000 people hit your campaign page! Were you surprised? Especially that so many strangers donated?
I was shocked!!! I didn’t expect any response because I didn’t think strangers would care about my campaign, much less donate to it. Then, I started receiving anonymous $16 donations, and some were donating $160, and I was completely shocked! People were leaving such thoughtful comments, trying to help me reach my goal and it showed me that there really is a lot of kindness in the world, even from strangers, and proved that people will rally around a good cause.
Your cause really impacted others… how did the campaign really impact you?
My grandmother passed away four years ago, and I was really close to her. When my aunt heard about what I was doing, she said that my Nan would be so proud of me. This really touched me, and made me cry. Running this campaign has changed my life. I’m a teenager, and so I never thought I could actually do something influential that could make a difference in others’ lives. But this campaign has completely proved me wrong. The feeling you get when you know you’re helping others is the greatest feeling in the world, and definitely the best birthday present I could have ever asked for.
Tonight I swung by a great geek dinner hosted by my good friend Amanda Rose and new friend Azita Ardakani, but was incredibly distracted by a historic moment breaking down at home: The appointment of Australia’s first female Prime Minister, Julia Gillard.
Now I voted for the man she replaced, Kevin Rudd, and while it was just words his ‘sorry‘ to Australia’s aboriginals delivered a high point for me in my nation’s politics. It’s also a little disappointing she was appointed by backroom manouvering, rather then at the forefont of a national election. Still, I think she’s a remarkable woman and I’m proud to call her the leader of my country.
Interesting from an online standpoint: I first found out this was going on via Twitter at 7am NYC time as news of the #spill started breaking. However by 7pm NYC when the votes were being cast Twitter was having issues, so I dumped their service in favor of Google live search updates. Whatever the service though, once again it was great to be part of a huge moment back home thanks to the power of the Internet.
Bonus: Mumbrella has an image of the souvenir front page of Sydney’s Daily Telegraph:
I had to chuckle when I spotted this staid paragraph in the Wall St Journal’s yarn on the iPad data leak while flying to Chicago today:
AT&T Inc. acknowledged Wednesday that a security hole in its website had exposed its iPad customers’ email addresses, a breach that highlights how corporations still have problems protecting private information.
A small group of computer experts that calls itself Goatse Security claimed responsibility for the intrusion, saying the group had exploited an opening in AT&T’s website to find numbers that identify iPads connected to AT&T’s mobile network.
I can’t help but wonder if the WSJ sub-editors spotted the nerd joke in the namesake this ‘small group of computer experts’ has chosen to adopt – ‘Goatse’ is an infamous part of internet folklore, as Wikipedia attests:
Goatse.cx was an Internetshock site. Its front page featured a picture,hello.jpg, showing a completely naked man stretching his anus with both hands, to approximately the width of his hand.
Because many frequent Internet users have been tricked into viewing the site at one time or another, it has become something of an Internet meme. As such, hello.jpg and the other images on the site are common subjects of parodies and tributes.
Click through for more Goatse if you must, but consider yourself forewarned (especially if you work for the WSJ).
I survived my Spain & Portugal rugby tour intact, and this Thursday I’m heading to Chicago for a couple of days for the Internet Retailer Conference.
I’m presenting a Twitter workshop on Friday morning titled ‘Twittering Your Way to Retail Success‘ so holler at me if you’re attending or a Chicago local who’d like to meet up while I’m in town.
Rugby tour was a blast. We lost our game baking in the Spanish sun vs Acala 48-41, won our first game in Portugal 32-5 and then lost the final of a local tournament in Caldas 17-5. The highlight of the tour though was Forcado training alongside our host rugby club, the Grupo de Forcados Amadores das Caldas.
For the uninitiated, Forcados are an element of Portuguese bullfighting where a group of 8 blokes essentially tackle a bull by the horns. As Wikipedia puts it: “It’s not uncommon that forcados get serious injuries – in 2008 at least one forcado was in a coma for three days – or even death.” I’ll post some videos later if one of my mates gets them up online.
Expect radio silence from PaullYoung.com (and *gasp* even Twitter) for the next 10 days as I’ll be joining my fellow Village Lions on rugby tour in Spain and Portugal.
We fly to Madrid this afternoon and play a game in Spain this weekend, then make our way to Lisbon, Portugal to take part in a tournament next weekend. There’s also some bullfighting training planned… so assuming I make it back alive I’ll be back in action here in mid-June.
And here’s a great action shot, courtesy of my good mate Christian Averill, of me in the thick of it on last year’s Lions tour of Argentina.
Together to date, charity: water and A Glimmer of Hope have provided clean water to over 400,000 people in Ethiopia. There’s still much to be done. You can help. Check out these three videos from A Glimmer of Hope that Phillip shared with us. And if you feel like making a donation to help click through to my fundraising campaign and make a difference.
A view of Burbax, Ethiopia
The Importance of Water
September 2008: Philip Berber & charity: water founder Scott Harrison watching one of the water projects we’ve built together in Ethiopia break ground