Saturday, March 12, 2011

Constant Contact CEO Gail Goodman checks out the Delaware Social Media Scene

Sometimes we really need to have someone from outside our community to offer a fresh perspective on what we're doing in Delaware.

This week we got that perspective from none other than Constant Contact CEO Gail Goodman.

Ms. Goodman and her team came to see what Constant Contact Regional Development Director David Yunghans has been up to here in the First State.

We had more than 200 people come to our social media training/showcase/best practices session on March 11 - where more than a dozen business owners, non-profit managers, and others shared their social media success stories (it was incredible!)

After the event, Ms. Goodman had this observation about the Delaware Social Media Scene:

We look forward to MS. Goodman and her team coming back to spend some more time getting to know us.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

More Evidence - this time from Men's Health

Once again - let's grab a little perspective - the state of Delaware still has fewer than 1 million people - and yet the city of Wilmington is listed as the 22nd most socially networked cities in the United States!

I cannot tell you how proud I am of the way this state is connecting and using social media to connect better in person! You are doing awesome stuff and the world is sitting up and taking notice!

Keep up the awesome work!

Oh, here's the link to the Men's Health article

OK, About the Article...

So, in the past week I've been fortunate enough to get morearticlepositive press than should be allowed (sorry, I don't know how else to say it).

First, there was Thursday's News Journal article, then there was WDEL's Rick Jensen leading an on-air "Ken Grant fest" - and more e-mails, facebook posts, and tweets than I can count.

I humbly accept the kind words and affirmations from all, BUT, I hope you will indulge me with just a few extra moments of your time to expand on a couple of ideas.

Several years ago, a friend pointed out to me that cynics are actually great romantics - they see how the possibilities of what the world *could* be compared to how the world *is* - and I could relate. 

Let the Battle Begin
I realized that I had a decision to make - would I live from an attitude of cynicism, or would I try to make the world a better place, that place of possibility?

This is a decision I find myselfpodcampfacing every day - and it is what I see in this community that keeps me choosing, time after time, to work a little harder, to try a little more, to believe that we can - and do - make a difference.

When I see people who are unemployed (and employed) come together every week to help support each other in their job searches (Community Matters Networking Group),

When I see thousands of people volunteer to help homeless families in multiple ways (Family PromiseSunday Breakfast MissionMinistry of Caring, etc.),

When I see a growing network of people connecting both electronically and in person to work on projects that help build community (Network DelawareGreater Newark Network, etc.),

When I see organizations dedicated to providing our youth with mentors, direction, and the tools needed to grow into adults who will make a difference in the world around them (Urban PromiseJewish Family Services of DelawareDelaware Youth for ChristJunior Achievement, etc.), and

When I know that the list of examples I have here represents only a small fraction of the individuals and organizations that should be recognized,

Then I know that I cannot hide behind the cowardice of cynicism and must do my part in creating a better future.

What Can We Do?
I'll never forget seeing a great poster a few years ago, it reads:

There's three kinds of people in the world:
- Those who make things happen
- Those who watch things happen
- Those who look around and ask, What just happened?

I ask that every time you get the urge to complain about something you consider to be wrong in society that you stop and think about what YOU can do to improve the situation - andplease, be creative - a protest or letter-writing campaign might bring some awareness to a situation, but what then? What can you do to make a difference - please don't wait for a state agency to step in, or for someone else to do something - if you see a problem, an issue, an opportunity, then YOU have what it takes to change it.
Basic principles
Anyone who has been to more than a couple of weddings (or seen the movie "Wedding Crashers") is probably familiar with the famous writing from a Rabbi named Paul about how "Love is patient, love is kind..."

I'd like to direct your attention to one of his other writings that I would argue offers some very basic, practical guidelines for life in community:

Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves... Share with people who are in need. Practice hospitality.
Bless those who persecute you...Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.
Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone.If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.

Seriously, thanks so much to all of you who set an incredible example - thank you for all of the joy, hope, and inspiration you bring - thank you for demonstrating true kindness.

Now, let's continue to work together to make our corner of the world a little better!

With much appreciation,


Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Too much fun!

A friend of mine really enjoys playing with Photoshop - I am proud, humbled, amused, and inspired by this - thanks Gene!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Egypt, social media, and the human spirit unleashed

It was as far back as May 4, 2010, when a room full of people at the University of Delaware's Mitchell Hall got an inkling that there may be a major change coming to Egypt.

That was the evening that the University of Delaware's Center for Political Communication held a discussion about Political Communication and Social Networking featuring:

  • David Plouffe - Barack Obama's 2008 campaign manager
  • Steven Schmidt - John McCain's 2008 chief campaign strategist
  • Jacqueline Ann Surin - writer from Southeast Asia
  • Mona Eltahawy - writer from Egypt

Fortunately, the good people of C-SPAN were also in the room and captured the evening for all of us to see how prophetic Mona Eltahawy was nearly a year ago - Click Here to watch Mona Eltahawy's comments about social media in Egypt.

What Every Power Structure Needs to Learn From Egypt:

Here's what we need to understand - Every organization must understand the new world in which we live, let me be explicit on this - if you work for, work with, or are the embodiment of a:

  • Business
  • Corporation
  • Religious Organization
  • Charity
  • Government (local and national)

- then this applies to you.

You see, the same tools that enabled the people of Egypt to stand up to a 30-year-old power structure and succeed are available and being used by your customers, contributors, collaborators, and constituents.
The political revolutions we're seeing in various part of the world are only the beginning - we are seeing a real societal revolution taking place - a revolution where authenticity is rewarded and an old-school, authoritarian "because we are the power and we say so" mentality gets ignored at best, and utterly destroyed if it doesn't take the hint.
The choice has never been more obvious - if you desire to have your business, government, or organization to be relevant in the coming years, you must engage with those you wish to be relevant to. This means listening, sharing ideas, admitting mis-steps, and celebrating community.
PLEASE NOTE: What is written here is neither new nor original - and for more comprehensive and insightful material, I highly recommend the following:
2. Dave Burris' always relevant post about how in social media, You Can't Fake the Funk
3. Erin Guttenplan's Edge of Seven post about the Women of Egypt

4. This great video from Clay Shirky:

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Groundhog Day Event Re-Cap


I will never look at Groundhog Day the same way again!

I won a drawing for a free happy hour at the new Catherine Rooney's in Newark - throughout the evening, about 70 people came and joined in the fun - this was truly an awesome night of community!

These videos should give you an idea of what the evening was like - I am truly grateful for all who made this evening possible - and please, continue to be the awesome, incredible, inspiring people you all are!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Rodney Jordan - Sir Galahad incarnate

Last Friday evening many, many people from all walks came together to celebrate Rodney Jordan's birthday - and raise more than $500 for the Delaware Breast Cancer Coalition.

During the celebration, I asked one of my typical birthday questions, "What's the most significant event for you this past year?"

Rodney's response: "This night, having all of these people here, this community."


I believe that tells you exactly what kind of person Rodney is - he is all about the community - at our roundtable, Rodney jordan is Sir Galahad - pure of heart and ever galant (fyi, I'm labeling myself as the town crier in this little analogy).

Here's the thing, I don't know if many people really know just how much Rodney does - from organizing events to putting people and organizations together to supporting hundreds of people in the area - Rodney was the first person to step up to lead the Community Matters Networking Group, Rodney put together (and primarily funded) the first Social Media Train in Delaware - oh yea, and for anyone who has benefitted from using the hashtag #netde, yea, Rodney started that.

It is safe to say that most people in our community owe a debt of gratitude to Rodney - I know I do.

And when I look at how much he has done in just the last couple of years I've known him, I can't wait to see how much will be accomplished in the coming years!

Friday, January 21, 2011

DelCastle Technical H.S. - giving students an incredible advantage

Gary Phillips at DelCastle Technical High School is training students to have an incredible advantage in the "Real world"

First, check out what Lee Mikles had to say about his visit - I agree with every word he writes.

In addition to truly impressive equipment and hardware, these students are working with industry standard software and are learning valuable lessons from instructors like Gary and from guest speakers.

Most impressive is the way the students are being taught to use their skills in a variety of ways and apply their understanding of video technology, software, editing, and writing to create truly original work.

I am confident that in the coming years we are going to see amazing things out of these students, know that it is thanks to the vision and work done by Gary and his colleagues at DelCastle.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Social Media 2.0 - video recap

Tuesday, January 18, 2010: The New Castle County Chamber of Commerce held a breakfast seminar on Foursquare and QR Codes at the University of Delaware's Courtyard Hotel in Newark.

Ken Grant and Rob Szczerba led the discussion, and Rodney Jordan shot the video.

Below is a combination of the videos shown that morning and the videos shot by Rodney:

Here's a link to a couple of CNN videos: Checkin in to Foursquare

Is Foursquare the next Twitter?

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Exploring some newer Social Media Tools!

I've said this from the beginning - and am more convinced than ever - this whole social media thing is a great big wild frontier that we get to explore and shape together.

So, next Tuesday, January 18 - let's do some exploring!

The New Castle County Chamber of Commerce is hosting a morning event for us to look at tools like FourSquare, QR Codes, and more!

Rob Szczerba from Associates International, Mark Thompson from ION-E, and I will share what we know (I'm counting on Rob and Mark to be much more informative than me - oops, did I say that out loud... anyway...) and you can help us discover cool new ways to use these tools for business, non-profit organizations, arts, government, community building, neighborhood development, and much more - this is going to be incredible!

Here's the official pitch from the chamber with a link to sign up - hope to see you there!

Social Media 2.0
Using Foursquare, QR Codes, and other technologies to grow your business

Do you know what a QR Code is? Have you ever checked in on FourSquare?

Join us at the Courtyard Newark at the University of Delaware for a full hot breakfast and a tutorial from the experts on how to network, connect and market your business in 2011.  We'll discuss the latest social media innovations, including Foursquare, QR codes, and other interactive applications that may put customers at the forefront of marketing strategy.  You will not want to miss this event!

Speakers: Ken Grant, Analtech
Rob Szczerba, Associates International
Mark Thompson, ION-E

Tuesday, January 18
(next week!)
8:30 - 11:30 a.m.
at Courtyard Newark at the University of Delaware
WHAT: Social Media 2.0
WHEN: Tuesday, January 18 - 8:30 - 11:30 AM
WHERE: Courtyard Newark at the University of Delaware - 400 David Hollowell Drive
WHO FOR: EVERYONE interested in communicating effectively with customers, clients, contributors, and/or collaborators
COST: $25 for NCCoChamber Members / $35 otherwise
Click Here to REGISTER