A Civic Dialogue on the Tools of Social Media

By Jill BlairJanuary 11, 2011 Thanks to TWI, I was referred to and just finished reading Malcom Gladwell’s article Small Change: why the revolution will not be tweeted, (New Yorker, October 2, 2010). The article resonated with me. I wondered if the echo was generational – me being my age and he being his, but truly, it doesn’t matter. I am an out of the closet skeptic about the power of virtual connections. I believe that the tools of social media have power and even potential yet unrealized, but my tendency is to see the introduction of new communications technology as adding …   Read more

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Blopping – Blog Hopping

by Pia InfanteJanuary 4, 2011 It is a crisp new year, as evidenced by this first TWI blog post since April 2010. As you may guess, we at The Whitman Institute have resolved to post weekly on our blog. Ta da! I am the lucky draw for week one.As I anguished (for several long minutes) about what dialogic promotion of a more peaceful and sustainable world to bring to your discerning attention (no pressure), I found myself acting on advice from much more veteran bloggers. I started scrolling around through other people’s blogs for inspiration and ideas. And, as is …   Read more

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What's the Value in Following Rather Than Leading?

By John EsterleHow do we make following sexy? This question has stayed with me since Katherine Fulton, President of The Monitor Institute, posed it a few days ago at the Annual Meeting of Northern California Grantmakers. It probably stuck because I think it’s an important question to address if more foundations are to move in the kind of collaborative, networked ways Fulton advocated.If we’re honest, when many of us (I include myself here) think of collaboration we tend to think in terms of getting others to support what we’re doing: our idea, our initiative, our grantee. Our initial orientation isn’t usually the other way around. Yet, as funders, if we’re to operate cooperatively with the kind of “ecosystem” …   Read more

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Sit There and Listen

By Pia InfanteListening is such a simple act. It requires us to be present, and that takes practice, but we don’t have to do anything else. We don’t have to advise, or coach, or sound wise. We just have to be willing to sit there and listen. (Margaret Wheatley)This quote brings to mind the quality of presence that John has cultivated over the years at the Whitman Institute. I’ve often reflected that the space here – simple, humble, open, with big glass doors that overlook trees and invite sky into the room – is now infused with the quality of Listening. Listening is often …   Read more

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Andy Goodman and Stories Vs Data

By John EsterleContinuing the story telling theme from my last post….Free Range Thinking is a monthly newsletter written by Andy Goodman for “public interest communicators who want to reach more people with impact.” In this December article he cites intriguing research that explores the persuasive power of stories vs data. In this contest, the research he cites shows a clear winner: stories move people to action (in this case donating money) in a way data doesn’t. Why? Because they engage people emotionally. No news here, but the research offers intriguing findings about what happens when you compare a stand-alone story with the same story plus statistics that put the problem in a wider context. Somewhat surprisingly, introducing statistics into the …   Read more

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