Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Presentation: We are creating social change right here right now!

Good Morning Flint!
12/05/08 , latest update
By Terry Bankert

From the moment we are born we are all trying to get our voice heard!
Use of the internet/blogosphere to get your opinion/ message out.

Slide Show of Workshop

I accepted the call to sit on a luncheon panel of media people to talk about how non profit organizations can use the media effectively.

My role is to represent the blosphere as a media to be used by non profits. I immediately asked friends on the internet for help.

This panel is part of a day-long Tell Your Stories mini conference--"Using New Media for Social Change" -- where they expect to work with about 50 nonprofit communicators (volunteeers and staff responsible for telling stories that advance their missions and strengthen their organizations).

The panel I am included on consists of John Foren from Flint Journal, Kevin Wilson from Channel 12, and invites not confirmed yet include Jennifer White from Michigan Television, someone from the Courier, and the moderator is former broadcaster and Flint native Michael J. Thorp.

With two hours for lunch , my having to leave for court early and the star quality panel my contribution will be to briefly describe my journey on the internet and answer a few question.

To learn from this I thought I would compose and post a longer article, this follows.

As indicated I began by posting a request for help to several internet sites.

Several responded and I am grateful. THANK YOU TO Kathy & Christine at Blogging for Michigan, ANDI03 at Flint Talk, Jeff at FaceBook.and tmmccullough at Flint Citizen for your contribution. This article is archived at http://tbankert.blogspot.com/ .

I began my internet journey in 1999 by creating a yahoo e-group for parents caught up in child protective proceeding. Working with “Unity” and Karen Hamilton I tried to give support to parents caught up in these proceeding. The group still is in operation.

Several years ago the survival of the Flint Ombudsmans office was placed on the ballot during a special Feb. Election . I formed a group called Flint Citizen and advocated for the support of the office. The Office survived the election and the group continues to exist.

I stumbled upon Flint Talk .com becoming involved in a Flint School election. I created then, my vehicle called “ Good Morning Flint”.

Later I became involved in the Flint Mayoral race my candidate won, lost a few friends, stuff happens. It has been in existence 2 years in December and has over 107000 views.

In the spring of 2007 I opened a face book account and currently have over 1000 friends?

Summer of 2008 I was invited as a blogger to a policy conference there I met Christine and Kathy of Blogging for Michigan. They accept my posts regularly and have a state wide readership.

I am now photo blogging and have a flicker account linked to my face book. I have done a couple of other things I remember and many I do not... but..BIG DEAL.

This is a hobby for me.

You know looking back you can say I had this vision, plan, wanted to contribute, give back to the community, I want to mentor or save the next generation or god spoke to me ...but... that’s BUNK.

I like to travel a different path,see my name in print, I am making this up as I go along, just instinctively doing the next logical thing . I am having the time of my life.

Granted I have learned a few things and 25 % of my law practice comes from the internet. So here today with no pretentiousness I will present a few thing I have learned.

Here is a confession, I am a lousy writer and worse photographer but nobody seems to care, yet, Why because I am one of the first in and the waters fine. The big dogs are soon to follow.

At some point in the above time line I ran for Flint City Council and was trounced, fairly, coming in third. No regrets. One burning realization was how few opportunities I had to express my opinion.I did resolve to change that and have been expressing my opinion ad nauseam since then.

In the either of the blogosphere our minds speak to one another free of the Baggage of time distance, access ,age ,social status and physical presentation. Find me an under 30 yrs person who does not text constantly. Presidential elections set fund-raising records on the internet, bloggers are treated like kings or at least get to meet them. These times they are a changing.

My observations of the internet/blogosphere follow. What is the Blogosphere Blogosphere is a collective term encompassing all blogs and their interconnections. It is the perception that blogs exist together as a connected community (or as a collection of connected communities) or as a social network.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blogspace Blogosphere (plural blogospheres) (Internet) The totality of blogs, especially the unique jargons, cultures and shared interests created by their interconnection. http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/blogosphere

What is a blog? It used to be a diary. My definition is a regularly posted comment by one individual in a location readily found in the same location or site.

I blog to sites I control and what I call cross posting to a number of other sites. Often I will post my blog in the comment section of a commercial publication that has covered the same topic. In short I aggressively market.

Observation 1- To be heard you should aggressively market on the internet.

Now this approach has its draw backs. A couple of years ago I attempted to create a series of what I call “alpha voices” on MLIVE. My objective was to be able to advocate policy questions state wide. I broke a couple of rules, multiple screen names [ I had 100 +] and had a few internet skirmishes with the MLIVE techies. End result my IP cannot log on to MLIVE forums. So be it. I will wear this red band, BANNED BY MLIVE forums. This is to explain why I cannot comment on their valuable contribution here.


*Google Blogs-free *Yahoo egroup-free *email addresses-free * boards and other vehicles created by others that you can ride on.- free

Observation 3

Web page address are the new phone numbers. The 30 and under crowd understand this. Soon you will not be able to market your product or service without one. I bought my web page from a pro. But GoDaddy has easy ones you can create yourself.

Observation 4 .

Email address are the new internet currency. Guard yours and seize theirs. It costs a buck to mail a letter. Email is marginally near free. I have 4500 address taken mostly when someone mails bulk to me without (BC) bling copy.

Observation 5

Internet discussion and or blogs are replacing highway billboards and your daily newspaper.

Observation 6

Blogospheric profits is measured by *hits*views*Comments to your stuff *accumulated friends (face book, my space)*people who show up to your internet advertised events *people who join your cause* the amount of money you raise. *people who contribute to your cause

Observation 7

Speed of distribution is a valued tool.*beat the commercial media with your message *supplement or correct the commercial media

Observation 8

Transparency is a good thing. It builds trust.

Observation 9

NOT EVERYONE IS ON LINE * Find the people online who talk to the people not online. *poor people who often are not on line can be reached through.
5.other human service agencies
7. blogger -

*The overall message, has to be used in conjunction with a plethora of other avenues.
1. in person
2.flyers with a webpage address
3.telephone other thoughts

-Keep it simple and the contacts should look individualized

Observation 10

Keep it lean or keep it simple. The recipient does NOT want to have a long list of people that are cc'd....ultimate turnoff. Write it just like a regular letter...only provide links to relevant information. Do not drone on and on.

Observation 11

email campaigns can be made to look individualized. Email to yourself and blind copy to the 1,000 other people you are communicating with.

Observation 12

Post to boards where area people congregate. Avoid personalized debates and do not interact with people there to start an argument.(trolls)

Observation 13

There are a number of easy ways to collect email address or social network recipients of your regularly newsletter/blog.

Observation 14.

I get most of my information on line I read multiple publications/ electronic newspapers on the same story. Google news

Observation 15.

I am a public figure and I use my name. You should consider using just your first name and never give out personal information. Those horses are out of the barn for me. If you are an agency your top people should use their full name

From a Friend Kathy

Suggestion A -INTRODUCE YOUR SELF TO THE COMMUNITY Have the communication director introduce the non-profit by posting diaries on various blogs in the targeted area (or state-wide blogs) and ask the blogs to share the information. The post should describe the organization and outline their goals. Write it up like a press release so people can copy it and reuse it on their personal blogs with very little effort.

Suggestion B -POST TO ALL THE BLOGS IN YOUR AREA Don't limit yourself to independent blogs either. Most newspapers have blogger too (Flint Journal, Lansing State Journal, etc.), so reach out to them through e-mail and encourage them to report on your efforts.

Suggestion C -BEG FOR SPACE Beg for free or reduced advertising space from blogs to get your name out there. I don't know if "fee" space is possible, but it can't hurt to ask!

Suggestion D -ASK PEOPLE TO SHARE THEIR INFORMATION Encourage people to share the information with their churches, community organizations, unions or other groups that you feel would help facilitate your goals. Finally, followup periodically with diaries that outline the organization's progress.


Suggestion F -FACE TO FACE COMMUNICATION NEEDED ALSO The issues are quite severe and will require some form of face to face communications as well as the technical phase.

Suggestion G -THE MOST IN NEED DO NOT HAVE COMPUTER ACCESS Many of those affected do not have knowledge or access to computers. Pleas keep this in mind. Somehow, the religious community needs to rally around this as well.

From another Friend Christine

1. The cbdc, bfm, and the shiawassee forums have had a real impact, and I'd like to deconstruct how that impact has come about, and figure out how to recreate it in other situations.

2. Some quick thoughts ... I 2nd Kathy's suggestions about the blogs, and I'd add that you should have your own blog. Wordpress.com and Blogger are free services, so there is no cost here.

3. Be sure to include this URL on all communications, comments, etc. Forums such as
and http://www.flinttalk.com/ are an excellent way to reach a lot of people.

4. I would also use social networking such as Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter, and build an opt-in email list as soon as possible.

5. Either use your own email system, or sign up for a free Feedblitz (or similar) account, where you can mass mail your list.

6. Something like Feedblitz will also mail your RSS feed for your blog on a user-configurable basis. (daily, as updated, etc.)

7. Finally, I'd leverage services such as cafepress, where you can create t-shirts and bumper stickers at no cost, and then your most loyal supporters can purchase these items. This helps spread your message offline + can be used to raise some money.

8. In all of these steps I'd be focused on 2 things ...

(8.1) communicating who I am, so as to build up some recognition, credibility, trust, etc., and

(8.2) asking for a specific action from the reader.

Gordon Mayer the guy who recruited me gordon@newstips.org

Vita of Terry Bankert http://attorneybankert.com/about.php

-internet vehicles I use Flint Talk com http://flinttalk.com/viewforum.php?f=2
This bulleting board allows my Thread " Good Morning Flint." with daily posts. Up for 2 years it has 107000 views. Monday post received two responses

- Blogging for Michigan Allows me to post daily" Good Morning Flint" # views unknown http://www.bloggingformichigan.com/frontPage.do On occasion I make it to their front page.

- On My Space I post a " Good Morning Flint" daily to a blog , views unknown, and bulletin to 65 members. My http://www.blogger.com/myspace.com/terrybankert

- On Face book post I "Good Morning Flint" daily. I have 1007 friends, blog posted to their profile page. http://www.facebook.com/people/Terry-Bankert/645845362 When soliciting friends here is the message I use"I write a daily blog from Flint MI USA. You are invited." The Monday post attracted the spelling police. I need it.

- Through my website I link to Good Morning Flint 2 ways. http://attorneybankert.com/ 1.Flint Internet Advocacy which has 187 members. This group has been used for political action. http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Flintcitizen/

2."Good Morning Flint" blogspost 9927 views in the last year http://goodmorningflint.blogspot.com/ Community Blogs , posted to MLIVE ( Flint Journal)http://www.mlive.com/blogs/flint/

–misc My first egroup was a support group for parents in child protective proceedings http://health.groups.yahoo.com/group/child_neglect_abuse/

There are 437 members. This began in 1999

- I have a weekly radio program Saturday Morning 9 am WFLT 1420 am radio. I present family law issues and discuss on occasion Flint Politics. I have guest speakers and invite organization to call in with information.

- I write a weekly Column for the CPS Courier a weekly paper distributed in Flint Churches - I have an internet live radio show Flint Talk Radio http://www.flinttalkradio.com/ http://www.flinttalkradio.com/terrybankert.htm

- I am a twitter member and have subscribers from that. - Youtube I did 44 segments a year ago, here is one. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4GF_xgarIuk

- Flickr Photos are included in articles of Good Morning Flint http://www.flickr.com/photos/30366181@N05/

- I am registered on about (20) local, state , international publication, television website to make comments. If a Good Morning Flint topic is carried I may post to these publications comment section.

- I created and maintain a Democratic National Convention Blog.

- For State Representative Lee Gonzales. http://leegonzales.blogspot.com/ I created a blog for him to comment on from the Democratic National Convention.

I have an alternative energy blog in development. Who knows? http://energyalternativesadvisor.blogspot.com/

Blogging for Michigan has awarded me their press credential and I have covered several events to include the Flint visit of the King of Sweden.

I guess my weekly views or audience events to be 10,000. These are not unique individuals.

My wife thinks I need to get a life.

Posted here by
Terry Bankert

Your thoughts?

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