Technology News of Note

August 2012

1.    11 Nonprofits That Excel at Social Media

The London Symphony Orchestra is one of 11 nonprofits sited for using social media “best practices.”  Some of the criteria used to determine the effectiveness of social media strategies by nonprofit organizations include:

  • Consistent use of a visually compelling square avatar across all social networks
  • Custom-designed Twitter and YouTube Channel backgrounds
  • Consistent publication of fresh content to a blog or website
  • Their website, e-newsletter, and blog all include links to their social networks
  • Their blog has an e-mail newsletter subscribe option and a “Donate Now” button
  • They consistently get retweeted, repinned, and reblogged and have an active fan base on Facebook and Google+
  • They have found the right balance of what kind of content to post on their social networks and how often
  • They are early adopters and boldly pioneer the Social Web

(Source: Nonprofit Tech 2.0)

2.    WGBH, the top producer of PBS programs, now owns Public Radio International

In a move signaling its ambitions to extend its clout and influence in public radio, Boston's WGBH has acquired Public Radio International, the Minnesota-based program distributor of radio programs such as This American Life, The World and The Takeaway. Financial terms of the deal have not been disclosed, but the sale will help to stabilize the nonprofit program distributor PRI, which ran an operating deficit of $2 million in 2011.   (Source: Current)

3.    Europe Moves to Aid Digital Music Industry

The European Commission plans to introduce legislation to bolster the digital music market in Europe by streamlining the methods of agencies that collect royalties on behalf of copyright holders. Michel Barnier, the internal market commissioner, is expected to propose a bill aimed at resolving problems at the 250 collecting societies that operate in the European Union, some of which are holding back growth in digital music. The move follows the disclosure that some of these groups have lost money on risky investments or, in some cases, failed to pay royalties owed to rights holders.   (Source: New York Times)

4.    Concessions Entangle Universal’s Bid for EMI

Executives of the Universal Music Group have met recently with members of the European Commission to discuss concessions to Universal’s $1.9 billion bid for EMI’s record labels. The deal, which would give Universal a global market share of about 40 percent, has been loudly criticized by rivals and consumer advocates, who worry that such concentration could hurt artists and fans.   But for Universal and its parent company, the troubled French conglomerate Vivendi, a more immediate concern is that this week’s discussions will effectively set the value of the deal itself.   To win approval, Universal is expected to sell pieces of EMI or its own catalogs, including possibly Virgin Records and EMI Classics. To appease regulators, Universal could either offer European rights to music under those labels, or sell the labels outright.   (Source: New York Times)

5.    How 99% Invisible Will Change Public Radio

The hugely inventive podcast 99% Invisible treats the design of everyday things like a forensic science. In each episode, creator and host Roman Mars highlights some nearly invisible design process that you had no idea was incredibly interesting and then tells you why it is.   What’s unusual about the process of creating the podcasts is that they are funded by Kickstarter campaigns.  In Mars’ case, he is seeking to reach stretch goals both in the number of backers (5,000) at any level, as well as in overall funds raised.

But Mars has set his sights much higher than a single campaign. He wants nothing short of a sea change in public radio. Because it’s cheaper for local radio stations to play national content than to produce original programming, the projects that get funded are hour-long, weekly, high-production value shows. That leaves shorter, indie blasts like 99% Invisible to fend for themselves. But the growth of the Internet as a funding mechanism, as well as a distribution channel, is beginning to level the playing field.   (Source: Wired)

An additional article on this topic can be found at  

6.    The Importance Of Social Media In Driving Attendance

There’s a lot of conversation about the ROI of social media and confusion about how to explain its importance to executive leaders. Need help? This blog contains some information and data on how social media drives attendance to visitor-serving organizations (zoos, aquariums, museums, botanic gardens, theaters, etc).   (Source: 

7.    Ten Common Mistakes That Arts Organizations Make When Using Twitter
Here is a list of the most common mistakes made by arts organizations, individuals and companies when using Twitter and how to avoid them:

  1. Don’t re-tweet all your praise. Storify it.
  2. If you want to mention someone and let someone know who follows you to see it, remember to stick a dot in front of the @user.
  3. Hashtags work best for long events. Make sure it is unique and short (and understandable!)
  4. Don’t create show specific accounts. Better to come from a persona/production company to build a sustainable online audience.
  5. Begging for a re-tweet. If your tweet is good enough it will get re-tweets without you needing to push it.
  6. Communicate with departments when announcing things on Twitter. Don’t cause clashes.
  7. Always remember the creativity within your work, this should extend to Twitter too.
  8. That dreaded phrase “Book Tickets Now”. It’s a weak call to action and we won’t buy tickets.
  9. Scheduling tweets might mean your followers will expect a reply outside of working hours.
  10. Always check your link works before putting it into a tweet.

(Source: A Younger Theatre)

8.    What cinematic opera means for the real thing

The touring patterns of the major U.K. companies are much more restricted than they were a decade ago.   This is partly the effect of tighter budgets, but also related to drastically changing patterns of demand.  Most members of this cautious and conservative audience are much happier trotting along to the familiar local cinema for the early evening or matinée HD broadcasts from the Met or Covent Garden, which provide close-ups of the top stars, enhanced sound, glimpses backstage – everything, in fact, except the raw excitement of being physically in the same space that it’s all happening in, when it happens. The cinema is cheaper, too.   (Source: The Telegraph)

9.    Why performing arts organizations are not app-ropriate

Don’t waste your money developing an app for your arts organization.   Only a handful of large performing arts organizations will have a large enough following to keep a sustained audience for their app. And then only if they can keep the audience engaged with fresh content, or say lets the audience stream an entire catalog of music.   A better approach is to develop a responsive design that allows you to create a single website that will adapt to the device on which it’s being viewed, whether it’s a desktop, a smartphone or a tablet. A site built with responsive design will automatically resize, and can customize content or options, for different devices.   (Source: Dutch Perspective)