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Earlier today I was helping a client with an upcoming Ignite presentation. They asked "where can I find photos?" These were my three suggestions:
RSS stands for "Rich Site Summary" and it is a dialect of XML. For a more thorough technical definition of RSS, See "What is RSS?" an LSNTAP Blog post. Although the technical definition of RSS isn't the easiest to understand, don't let that scare you away from this useful timesaving tool.
If you are unfamiliar with RSS, I recommend this short video: RSS in Plain English. It explains RSS simply and shows you how to subscribe to feeds by looking for this logo on your favorite blogs and websites.
In addition to the orange RSS icon, look for these icons as well
Once you've subscribed to several sites, you view them in your RSS reader of choice. The video recommends using Google Reader which no longer exists. Below is a list of RSS readers and dashboards to help you keep all of your RSS feeds in one convenient location. Most RSS readers allow you to subscribe to feeds directly from their website by simply typing in a URL, ie www.lsntap.org will give you the headlines for all of LSNTAP's blog posts. A lot of RSS readers have additional features which allow you to create customized dashboards with RSS feeds, email, weather, etc. There are many more RSS readers out there. If one of these isn't exactly what you are looking for, I suggest doing some more research. Here is a list of RSS readers that you might find useful.
Netvibes/Bloglines (Great Free version) Both sites allows you to create multiple dashboards. You can have a dashboard for work, home, or for different projects. You can easily add RSS feeds and customize the look. Add a google search bar to the top and make it your homepage. Easily check all your favorite websites, the weather, email, social media feeds, google analytics, create to-do lists , and more.The paid version gives you deeper insight into analytics. Which one: They are basically the same, but I think Netvibes is slightly more user friendly. Here is an example of what Netvibes/Bloglines look like:
Feeds 2:(Free) A web based RSS reader. Sign up for a free beta account. Add your RSS feeds, and feeds2 learns about content you read and personalizes your account with relevant content.
My Yahoo: (Free)Add RSS feeds, the weather, and other apps to customize your homepage which includes a Yahoo search engine.
Feedly: (Free version or $5/month) Feedly is a great basic RSS reader. You add feeds by topic or URL. The site has a nice user interface which helps you keep your feeds organized. The pro version incorporates other apps to make sharing and searching easier. For an RSS reader, the free version works great. Available on iOS and Android. Here is an example of a Feedly Feed:
NewsBlur: (Free) News blur is a real-time RSS Reader which allows you to organize your feeds by type, and then shows you content in a split screen, so you can view the feed while also reading content on the same page. There is also a sharing element which allows you to share stories on your blurblog. Newsblur has a web app and is optimized for smartphones and tablets running iOS and Android. Here is an example of NewsBlur:
Protopage:(Free) a personal dashboard/RSS reader. Add widgets and customize this page. Similar to Netvibes/Bloglines. Preprogrammed search bars for popular sites including Amazon, Google, YouTube, and Ebay. You can also add notes and tabs to multiple dashboards.
The Old Reader: (Free for up to 100 feeds which is plenty for most or $3/month for Old Reader Premium) Connect your account to Facebook or Google +. There are many options for mobile apps because of its Open API. Great RSS reader with a social component. Example:
There are many more RSS readers out there. If one of these isn't exactly what you are looking for, I suggest doing some more research. Here is a list of RSS readers that is a good place to start.
Here is an Advocate Feed List that was posted on LSNTAP's blog if you are looking for new RSS feeds to subscribe to. And here are 1,000 more feeds that aren't related to legal aid. Please share your favorite RSS feeds in the comments box and let us know which RSS reader you use!
Most of you already know that social media is an important part of any marketing strategy. Effective social media strategies allow organizations to increase exposure, develop community, build partnerships, and so much more! In order to keep followers engaged and actualize the potential of social media marketing, it is important to continually update your profiles with new and interesting content. This task becomes daunting as users try to manage an increasingly long list of profiles: Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google Plus, Pinterest, Instagram...the list goes on). Fortunately, there are many great programs out there designed to help you manage your social media accounts, schedule posts, and track your influence.
Klout: (FREE) Klout is a social media management system that gives users a social media influence score between 1 and 100 (the average score is 40). A Klout score measures social media reach and influence. Connect Klout to your social media accounts, find and share great content, and schedule posts. Simultaneously post to different social media accounts, schedule content to publish, and watch your Klout score go up! There is also a Klout Chrome Extension which allows you to quickly format and share links. Klout is free, easy to use, and can save you a lot of time!
Buffer: (Limited free version or $10/mo.) Connect your social media accounts and schedule postings. Buffer suggests content and allows you to connect to RSS feeds to find great content. Buffer is a great time saver, and allows you to manage all of your social media accounts in one convenient location. The free version allows you to add up to one account per social network. The "Awesome Plan" is $10/month without a contract and it allows you to add up to 10 profiles and 15 RSS feeds.
Cyfe: (Limited free version or 19/mo.) Allows you to create customized dashboards to easily monitor all of your data in one place. Create dashboards for social media, finance, project management, and more. Share your dashboards with team members, clients, or public URLS. Cyfe costs 19/ month or 14/month if paid annually. There is a limited free limited version which I've found works well to keep track of some of LSNTAP's Analytics. For more information about Cyfe, see this short introductory video.
TweetDeck: (Free) A dashboard application for managing Twitter accounts. Tweetdeck users can monitor and tweet from multiple accounts and create customized dashboards to organize your Twitter streams.
PeerIndex: (limited free version or $100/mo.) Similar to Klout in that it measures your social influence on your social media accounts on a scale of 1-100. Increase your score by sharing content, building community, and increasing online activity. Disclaimer: I created a profile to try and test out PeerIndex, but I couldn't get passed the loading screen. It was loading for hours. I tried a couple browsers with no luck.
Twitter Lists: (Free) Twitter lists are a great way to organize and manage your Twitter contacts.
Organize your contacts by interest area so you don’t have to scroll through irrelevant tweets to find what you are looking for. I recently created a Twitter list for Tech Law Twitter Users. The list allows me to quickly get information that I want without being bombarded with Irrelevant tweets on my home feed. Others can easily subscribe to the list or ask to join. Twitter lists are great for creating little online communities.
Hootsuite: (Limited free version or $9.99/mo.) A dashboard system to help you organize and optimize your social media accounts. Add social media account streams to your dashboard and publish content directly from Hootsuite. The free version is very useful. Click on tools and in extensions and downloads, you can download a chrome extension, which formats content and allows you to schedule posts.
This is just a short l list of sites you can use to help manage your social networking sites. Creating accounts is really simple, so I suggest trying out a few until you find one that you like. If you are interested in the sites that give you a social media score, here is an interesting article comparing Klout, PeerIndex, and Kred, 3 of the most prominent score based social media management sites.
Please comment and let me know which sites you've used, which sites you find the most useful, and of course sites that I've left out!
Also, If you find this post interesting or helpful, you are likely to benefit from an LSNTAP community training by Idealware on October 22, 2014: Getting Beyond the Like: Social Media Engagement. More information about this training is available on our Training Page.
More Than Apps: Affordable Program Delivery Through Mobile Phones
Lindsey Bealko, Expert Trainer, Idealware
Principal & Founder Toolkit Consulting
Pat Malone: Associate Director, Immigration Advocates Network
Xander Karsten LawHelp Program Coordinator, Pro Bono Net
What We'll Cover
- A new, Mobile World
- Providing Information
- Conversations with Constituents
- Supporting Staff in the field
A New Mobile World
- 90% of all American Adults have a cell phone
- 58% of American adults own smartphones
- Common across demographics. Not huge gaps
How you can Provide Information via Mobile
- Start with the basics: a mobile website is the core of any mobile strategy
- If you're going to engage your viewers on a phone, they need to be able to find your site on their phone.
- Is your website up to date? Do you have an email-marketing strategy to drive people to your website?
- How does your website look on a phone?
- Look at your web analytics to see how much of your traffic is coming from mobile, and see what people are doing.
Optimizing your site for mobile
- Plan for those who only see the top left of your site, or a full but tiny site
- 20-80 rule, About 20% of your content is what people are looking at 80% of the time. You mobile site should optimize that 20%. Then, add a link to full site.
- People are more likely to be looking at your site while distracted, and are probably looking for quick information rather than in-depth information. (think about what your users really need and want)
- Consider responsive design: if you're building from scratch, you can create a site that adapts itself to different devices.
- Or create your own simple app. Apps need to be downloaded, but then are accessible offline. Tools like AppMakr, Sweb Apps, MobBase will help you create very simple apps for $100-$200. (make sure you have someone to help you maintain your app).
- Or for simply use QR codes to make paper interactive. Direct people to a mobile version of your website.
Mobile Friendly Examples
- MontanaLawHelp.org uses the Mobile LawHelp Platform.
- CitizenshipWorks.org Mobile App
- Pocket Daca: info to help individuals understand and apply for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).
- Immigo: information for practitioners working in the immigrant integration space
- Arkansas Access to Justice Foundation iProBono
- Winona County Historical Society: Created with open source software, TapTours, by non-technical staff members.
- Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch App
- Circle of Six: An app that protects women: women select 6 trusted friends. Sends preprogrammed text to those friends including map of their location. Designed for college-age women with smartphones.
Conversations with Constituents
Sending Texts from Email: not officially supported, so not 100% reliable or for large quantities. A reasonable choice for small numbers of texts.
Sending Broadcast Texts: If you've collected cell phone numbers you can text them messages-- very similar to broadcast email. Start adding cell phone numbers with an opt-in box for text message updates.
Ask People to Subscribe: put it on all your forms, or start a texting campaign. "Text Subscribe to 2934 to stay informed about our organization"
Text messages for 2-way conversations: set up branch logic. You can setup automated responses with a lot of branch points.
You can connect your texts to a database, so people can get automatic texts or responses. Use texts to collect information: People can report emergencies or incidents via SMS, which are collected in a database.
- Here are some SMS campaigns that are going on in Legal Aid!
- Txt4Life: A text for help
-teens can text or call to talk to someone for help if considering suicide. They got 20 times as many texts sessions as phone calls.
Text Message Platforms:
Mobile Commons: $400/month. More 2-way. (will do group subscription)
Mobile Cause: 1000 text/mo. Starting at $69
Google Voice: 5 texts at a time, for free.
99% of texts get read. 80% in the first 3 minutes. And the click rate is 4 times higher than email.
Supporting staff in the field:
- Allow staff to view or collect data in the field
- Allow staff to do intake remotely
- Collect data from constituents
- Tablets can be compelling for surveys or quick data collection
- Door to door canvassing