AAUW NC social media history

[This is another post whose original version went to the webmgrs list at AAUW.]

AAUW NC has had

  • a mailing list open to all members since 1997 or so with more specialized lists (for branch presidents, state leaders) for several years. These are set up as “discussion lists” but only a few people ever post.
  • an RSS feed since about 2005  aauwnc.org/feed, which (theoretically) offers a way to subscribe to the news
  • a twitter account since 2007 or so (originally set up as a to retweet web site posts marked as “announcements” and encouraging folks to “subscribe via your phone”), twitter.com/aauwnc
  • and a Facebook page since ?? (maybe late 2008 or sometime in 2009). facebook.com/aauwnc

These are integrated in the following ways

  • Major news items are posted on the web site.
  • Twitter is used to tweet the titles of the web posts and is used for some “extra” news that doesn’t make it onto the web site.
  • Facebook pulls in the full text of the web posts via RSS. Most of the auxiliary twitter posts are also posted there along with, sometimes, more explanations and context
  • closing the loop, the web site pulls in the facebook news feed on www.aauwnc.org/news
  • every once in a great while the web site (and some Facebook) “headlines” are summarized in an e-newsletter to the all-members mailing list.


  • twitterfeed.com used to read the RSS feed from the web site and repost to twitter
  • ping.fm used to post items to Facebook and Twitter at the same time
  • tweetree used to read/post as @nes49  – a browser based client that doesn’t have the advanced “listening” features of something like tweetdeck or hootsuite but does have “real names” and threaded discussions which really help me understand the messages.
  • twirl used to manage “organization” twitter accounts, making it easy to be both @aauwnc and @ncwu
  • The website posts are imported to Facebook using the notes application — doesn’t always work correctly (and seems to be particularly problematic today, sigh).

An  earlier part of the conversation mentioned using Facebook to reach college/university populations. AAUW NC uses it to reach Facebook members in general, and doesn’t gear it for C/U communication in particular. There are many nonmember fans of the page, but few of those are on campuses. They are mostly friends of fans or come from connections through our allied organizations.

None of these communication avenues have a broad reach, and I don’t spend much time on analytics. From anecdotal evidence, I have to believe that the Facebook page is doing a better job of reaching our members. On the other hand, since we’ve set up the page we’ve cut back on our “e-newsletter” publications, and I’m sure we’re missing some people who haven’t “liked” the page, don’t use Facebook at all, and never check the News page on the web site. So we’re going back to basics and looking at better use of a mailing list, which is still the way many people prefer to get their news.  As for nonmembers — twitter and Facebook both reach folks who might not have heard about us otherwise — but we’ve not been  as intentional about the outreach as we might have been.

For more on the general topic of setting up a marketing plan and using new (and old) media, I’d recommend Kivi Leroux Miller’s new book “The Nonprofit Marketing Guide”  (amazon link). It has a number of practical tips, some of which are aimed at larger organizations. But I found it useful to read in the context of a branch/state marketing plan, most of which fall into her “marketing department of one” target audience. See www.nonprofitmarketingguide.com for more. [I’m rereading it now — let me know if you’re interested in a virtual book discussion.]

See also www.aauwnc.org/subscribe.

Review of Facebook RSS applications

I’ve been an RSS “evangelist” for a couple of years now (www.bbvx.org/wp goes back to June 2005) — expecting that IE 7’s support for RSS would make it more and more important for all websites to produce RSS feeds for their content. Well, the sea change in user behavior hasn’t happened yet — and I’m still encountering folks who give me a blank stare when I say RSS, though there have been articles in the popular press and videos like “RSS in plain English” from www.commoncraft.com are helping to get the word out. There are, of course, more web sites producing RSS feeds (including www.aauw.org/rss/news.xml, yay!), but the info-sharing hasn’t yet “taken over the world”.

I took my bias towards RSS to Facebook. Even if information on Facebook can’t be posted outside its “walled garden,” it would seem useful to pull some of that syndicated information from the outside world into Facebook.

On my Facebook profile, I include information from this blog https://change.bbvx.org. That’s a basic feature of the Facebook “notes” application. You can add the address of a single blog and the items you (presumably) post there will be pulled into your Facebook notes. [There are, I think, then two separate streams of comments — your blog’s and Facebook’s.]

I’m importing another blog to Facebook using the Wordbook application. This requires installing a plugin on a WordPress blog, then “connecting” that blog to the Facebook account. New posts on the blog show up in the account’s mini feed, news feed, etc.

I tried the MyRSS application for general purpose importing of feed data to my Facebook profile — but it didn’t seem to refresh automatically, and that is, of course, the whole point. It seemed designed more as an RSS reader than as a “reposting” application — but since I read my feeds outside of Facebook, it wasn’t what I was looking for.

I’m currently using the Feed Friend RSS application to import the AAUW and AAUW NC news feeds to my profile, It seems to be working fine. One quibble is that I’m actually importing the STEM subfeed of the AAUW NC blog — but there doesn’t seem to be a way to label the feed correctly.

There are, of course, major hangups here –

  1. There’s no way to put RSS feeds on a group’s page. [This is just one of many applications that would be good to make available to groups, but, to my mind, it’s the most critical.] While my friends (and others, I think) can “see” the feeds on my profile and as an “available feed” if they add the Feed Friend RSS application, being able to put the feed on the group page would require much less effort for the same number of eyeballs/headline. [See, e.g., myspace.com/aauw_organization with the embedded RSS feed from aauw.org.] It would seem that providing a functionality at least like the “import notes” that’s available to individuals would recognized as valuable by the Facebook powers.
  2. There’s only limited info from Facebook that’s available to an external RSS reader. Yes, I can see notifications (someone sent me a message, replied to a post, etc.), but there are lots of other changes that are invisible. It’s very hard to tell when, say, a new discussion has been started in one of the groups you’ve joined. Not all “changes” to a group bump the group up in your list of recently modified groups, so we’re back to having to click through a number of groups just to see if something’s changed — shades of the awful “Please check back often” on early web sites. There’s a Facebook group looking at this issue, but it’s not clear if they’re making progress.

So… Do you have other techniques, suggestions, or applications? If so, please post here (change.bbvx.org) or on my Facebook profile under Notes.

Supreme Court case on pay equity decision announced

From FeminstLawProf.org:

Today’s 5-4 decision ruling against a woman bringing a pay equity case is available here. [Read more]

While the article itself is of interest, you might want to know how I found it. I’ve got my RSS reader watching Technorati for “high authority” blogs mentioning pay equity. The Feminist Law Professors Blog, administered by Ann Bartow of the Univ. of South Carolina School of Law, is one that we may want to watch for other ties to AAUW issues — the previous post, for instance, is on sexual harassment.