Well, the time has come to wrap up the worst semester of my entire life, submit the final blog post, and close the junior year chapter.
Full disclosure, I am listening to Lemonade as I write this.
The back half of EC457 was spent working with nonprofits, designing a proposal, and getting hands on experience with social media nonprofits. During this time, there have been also two books guiding the discussion and driving the actions behind the proposal. The first book is Content Strategy for the Web by Kristina Halvorson and Melissa Rach, the second one is The Networked Nonprofit, by Beth Kanter and Allison Fine.I have spent a good chunk of time reading and evaluating both.Aesthetically the books are drastically different, yet they still have a few key similarities that cannot be ignored.
- Overarching Mission: Not surprisingly, both books have the same goal: How to use social media and an online presence to increase awareness and build a following. To do this, both guides include pictures, graphs, and lists to get their various points across. on page 95 on NWNP there is an entire section on doing more by doing less, this is echoed in CSW in chapter one, it is the first tip presented within the book. Although they have slightly different focuses, both novels present similar information and
- Readability: Again, another obvious one: both books were easy to read and easy to follow along with. Personally I found CSW to be significantly easier to read because of its set up, however neither of the books had long chapters, or lengthy paragraphs. Both books include graphs that bring what the authors are saying to life. CSW introduces graphs within the first few pages of the book, whereas NWNP does not. NWNP also seems to have some outdated and irrelevant screenshots (see page 88), but alas they both emphasize the importance of visualizing the information and helping the reader understand what a good example of what they are discussing would be.
NWNP ADVANTAGES: As the title states, this book focuses more on how nonprofit organizations should be interacting and promoting themselves online. Since a large portion of a nonprofit’s strategy plan needs to revolve around building relationships and story telling, this book focuses a lot of attention to the value of using social media to tell stories. They actually have more than one chapter about building a relationship and building a following.NWNP also included more examples of various NP usage of social media. In fact, chapter five (pg. 59) goes into great detail about Planned Parenthood and their online strategy. This is helpful when discussing what works and what does not work and how to be successful. Further, because NWNP has such a niche focus, it is easier and more beneficial for them to have these types of examples throughout. At the end of every chapter, NWNP has both a conclusion and reflection questions for the reader to go over so they can apply whatever was just discussed to their own social media or online content as well as reflect on how to use the information given to them.
CSW ADVANTAGES: When looking at the two books, there are a few differences the reader will see before even opening the guides. CSW has thicker pages, a diverse and clean color scheme that is carried throughout the novel, as well as smaller sections and more chapters. CTW actually opens up with guide with a step-by-step list that proves to be a few easy tips on how to drastically improve an organizations content. This sets the stage for the remainder of the book. Like the name implies, this guide functions more so as a Content Strategy, which includes all web content that an organization will produce, not just social media or online funding. This becomes more obvious when CSW suggests that organization do an audit of their current content. This is not a practice that would normally be done on a Twitter or Facebook, rather this is something organizations should be doing on their website.
After reading the two books, the easiest way to explain the two books is a more humanities approach to web strategy (NWNP) and a more analytical “by the book” approach (CSW). After examining their approaches, information, writing style, and overall strategy, I think this is a fair assessment. Both books have advantages and disadvantages, and when used together, they set up an organization (non profit or for profit) to be successful online.