Monday, January 31, 2011

8 Qualities of a Juicy Blog (my first video!)

video

Happy Monday, Have Fun, Do Gooders!

In honor of my new e-course, Juicy Blogging, that starts Wednesday, February 2nd, I'm posting a less than 5-minute video (my first!) about the 8 Qualities of a Juicy Blog:
  1. Visual
  2. Bite-sized
  3. Shares stories I can relate to
  4. Has an authentic and unique voice
  5. Solves my problems
  6. Makes me smile
  7. Written in the now
  8. Generous
We'll be discussing all of these qualities during the Juicy Blogging e-course, as well as tips for building community and time management.  Each week there will be three kinds of homework:

  • Reflection: Questions to refine your blog's purpose
  • Connection:  Assignments to build community and engagement
  • Creation: Juicy blog post prompts to get you writing

To join the course, go to http://brittbravo.com/speaking.  Thanks for watching my first video!

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    Wednesday, January 19, 2011

    Instagram for Nonprofits: Powerful Images in the Palm of Your Hand

    How many of you played with Instagram over the holiday break?  I did and I *love* it.
    • I love how simple it is to use
    • I love how good it makes my photos look
    • I love how easy it is to share images across networks (e.g. Twitter, Facebook, Flickr)
    • I love "reading" my feed of stories told through images each day
    The Instagram community has grown quickly.  On December 22nd, the New York Times blog, Bits, reported that Instagram passed 1 million users in two months.  As of right now, Instagram is only available for iPhones. Once it's available for Android, I think it will be a fabulous storytelling tool for nonprofits.

    NPR is already sharing photos with Instagram that range from a Hubble telescope image, to Haitian children playing in front of latrines, to a close-up of Rep. Gabrielle Gifford's husband holding her hand.

    Nonprofits could use Instagram to share photos:
    • from the field
    • from an event, march or fundraiser
    • as they build, or create something (e.g. a home, an urban garden, a mural)
    • of natural places they want to preserve
    • of and by the people they serve
    • of and by volunteers, or donors
    • of animals that need to be adopted
    • of a "day in the life" of their staff, or constituents
    • as a teaser to a longer story, or a video on their website
    Unfortunately, I think folks are inundated with words these day (even when they are packaged in only 140 characters!), which is why it is a perfect time to reach them with a stream of powerful images that they hold in the palm of their hand.

    Update: The January 27th Mashable post, Instagram Introduces Hastags for Users and Brands, talks about how NPR and Charity:Water will be using hastags: "Charity: Water is asking users to share images of water in their life using #charitywater, and NPR is on the lookout for photos that capture the ideas of #love and #hate."

    Update: The June 8th instagr.am post, Nonprofits on Instagram, lists a few more.

    This post is a submission for the January Net2ThinkTank.
    Image: Photo taken in Oakland's Redwood Regional Park made to look extra awesome with Instagram.



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    How to Organize Have Fun Do Good Flash Mobs with Gabriela Masala, a Big Vision Podcast Interview


    "We don't necessarily expect to go to the farmers' market to get our vegetables and have someone beaming a big smile and offering us a hug. These things break the trance of the culture, and I love that.  It feels like that's a way in which the arts can be visionary, be change agents, and also be really fun and playful, which is primary to living." - Gabriela Masala

    This month's Big Vision Podcast guest is Gabriela Masala talking about how to organize have fun do good flash mobs. Gabriela is the Founder of the One Love Alliance. The One Love Alliance creates visionary arts community flash mob events that are both transformative and entertaining, and that are fueled by the values of unity, playfulness, creativity and love.

    She is the creator of the Inner Wealth Deck, and is a choreographer, dancer, intuitive consultant, retreat leader, and mom. She's also the wife of Kenya Masala, whose song, "Mango Delight," I use for the Big Vision Podcast's intro and outro.

    You can listen and subscribe to the Big Vision Podcast via iTunes, its landing page, or on the player above.  If you have suggestions for people I should interview, please email me at britt AT brittbravo DOT com.

    Show Notes
    Connect with Gabriela:
    Connect with me:
    If you liked this interview, you might also like:


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    Monday, January 17, 2011

    Juicy Blogging E-Course (online) + Blogging for Writers (SF)

    As many of you know, in addition to blogging and podcasting for myself and others, I'm also a blogging trainer and coach for artists, writers, creative entrepreneurs and do-gooders.  I have two blogging workshops coming up, one online and one in San Francisco, that I thought might interest you.

    Juicy Blogging E-Course: The Art and Play of Blogging for Artists, Writers, Creative Entrepreneurs and Do-Gooders

    February 2-23, 2011
    Optional check-in conference call on February 16, 5:30-6:30 PM PT


    To register, go to http://brittbravo.com/speaking

    Do you want to re-energize your blog and blogging practice, or rediscover the “heart” of your blog? During this 4-week Juicy Blogging e-course you will read and discuss lessons through a private blog from the comfort of home.

    While working at your own pace, this journey will allow you to:

    • Discover what you love to write about
    • Create a big ‘ole list of juicy blog post topics
    • Design a blogging schedule that works for you
    • Learn tricks and tips for building community and engagement
    • Connect with other juicy bloggers and have fun!

    Juicy Bonus

    You’ll receive a coupon for 25% off one-on-one blog coaching!

    Investment

    • 2-3 hours per week (that’s less than half an hour a day!)
    • $75, when you register before January 26th. Use the discount code JUICYBLOGGER11
    • $100, when you register after January 26th

    Blogging for Writers 

    January 29, 2011
    10 AM-4 PM

    The Writing Salon
    The Mill Building
    720 York St. #207 (between 19th and 20th streets)
    San Francisco, CA

    Investment
    $95 for members/$110 for non-members
    To register, go to writingsalons.com

    Testimonials from Blogging for Writers Students

    “Britt’s class exceeded my expectations. Britt was very vibrant and warm and made what could have been godawful boring exciting and interesting. She was extremely helpful and approachable. I give her an ‘excellent’ rating on all counts.”

    “Britt was so engaging and personable that the time just flew by. She also was very encouraging and accepting of all ideas. She made me very, very comfortable and created an environment to learn and get ideas. As I knew nothing about blogging, I found it helpful to be able to leave with written information about blogging that I will be able to follow up on. I feel like I have a tool to work with. The workshop has given me motivation to continue writing. It was also fun to see what other people were writing about and the variety of topics and interests others have. Another aspect of the class was how supportive people were about each other’s writing projects.”


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    Wednesday, January 12, 2011

    Jon Stewart's Wise Monologue About the Tucson Tragedy

    I've been struggling to figure out how to absorb the shootings that happened in Tucson, and have been inclined to blame people with different political values than mine whose commentary is nasty and violent, until I listened to Jon Stewart's monologue on Monday's Daily Show.

    I transcribed an excerpt of it myself to share with you, so please forgive any errors.  You can also watch the whole monologue on Comedy Central, and I've embedded the video at the bottom of this post too.
     "Did the toxic political environment cause this? . . . We live in a complex eco-system of influences and motivations, and I wouldn't blame our political rhetoric any more than I would blame heavy metal music for Columbine.
    And by the way, that is coming from somebody who truly hates our political environment.  It is toxic.  It is unproductive, but to say that, that that is what has caused this, or that the people in that are responsible for this, I just don't think you can do. 
    Boy would that be nice, boy would it be nice to be able to draw a straight line of causation from this horror to something tangible.  Because then we could convince ourselves that if we just stop this, the horrors will end.  You know, to have the feeling, however fleeting, that this type of event can be prevented forever.  But it's hard not to feel like it can't.  You cannot outsmart crazy. You don't know what a troubled mind will get caught on.  Crazy always seems to find a way.  It always has.
    Which is not to suggest that resistance is futile. It sounded pretty dark what I just said there, now that I reconsider it in my own head: "Crazy people rule us all." I don't think that's true, and I do think it's important for us to watch our rhetoric.  I do think it's a worthwhile goal not to conflate our political opponents with enemies.
    If for no other reason, than to draw a better distinction between the manifestos of paranoid mad men and what passes for acceptable political and pundit speak. It would be really nice if the ramblings of crazy people didn't in any way resemble how we talk to each other on TV.  Let's at least make troubled individuals easier to spot.
    Again, to see good people like this hurt, it is so grievous, and it causes me such sadness, but again, I refuse to give into that feeling of despair.  There is light in this situation.
    I urge everyone, read up about those who were hurt, or killed in this shooting.  You will be comforted by just how much anonymous goodness there really is in the world.  You read about these people and you realize that, that people that you don't even know, that you have never even met, are leading lives of real dignity and goodness, and you hear about crazy, but it is rarer than you think."
    Thanks, Jon Stewart, for always making my day a little bit brighter.   If I had a Have Fun, Do Good award, I'd give it to you!

    The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
    Arizona Shootings Reaction
    www.thedailyshow.com
    Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical Humor & Satire Blog</a>The Daily Show on Facebook


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    Friday, January 07, 2011

    5 Have Fun, Do Good Letter Writing Ideas

    Watercolor postcard with rubber stamp
    I love letters.  I think the decline of personal letter writing is one of saddest casualties of technological expansion.  Emailing and texting may increase the frequency of communication, but nothing can replace the subtle messages, and beauty, of individual handwriting, the color of ink and the weight of paper.

    Here are 5 have fun, do good letter writing ideas:

    1. Make your own cards!  I love Strathmore's collection of blank cards.  They have all kinds: cards that go in your printer, cards you can paint on with watercolors, photo frame cards, and  "green" cards made of hemp, bamboo and recycled fiber.  You can also re-use old cards by cutting along the fold and reusing the side with the image, if its backside is blank. For inspiration, check out the book Good Mail Day: A Primer for Making Eye-Popping Postal Art, and its corresponding Good Mail Day Flickr group.

    Watercolor postcard with collage
    2. Write a letter to yourself.  Jennifer Lee has a wonderful post up on the Right Brain Business Plan blog about writing a letter to your future self as part of a creative goal setting ritual.

    3. Write letters to people you love.  Writing letters of gratitude to 40 people for 40 days before my 40th birthday was an incredibly moving experience.  Whether you write to tell someone how much you love them, or just to tell them about something funny that happened to you this week, I promise, they'll appreciate it.  You might also want to make a quick list of people who've gone through big transitions (birth, death, moving, break up, job loss), and send them a note of encouragement, especially after the initial outpouring of support has faded.
      
    4. Be a do-good pen pal.  A number of programs facilitate letter writing with people who are sick, lonely, or are in a challenging situation like:
    You could also contact a nearby retirement home, or children's hospital and ask if they have a letter-writing program.  I tried to find a domestic prisoner letter-writing program, but all of the websites looked kinda sketchy.  Any recommendations?

    Photo from Secret Agent L
    5. Write random act of kindness cards

    If you read my interview with Secret Agent L, you know that her affiliated agents leave cards with inspiring quotes and small gifts in public places for people to find.  Check out the photos and stories on her blog from various "missions" for inspiration.


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    Tuesday, January 04, 2011

    How to Use Your Play History to Find Your New Year's Dreams

    I'm the one with the "Princess Leia" hairdo
    Instead of thinking about what I want to achieve in 2011, I'm focusing on how I want to play!

    As regular readers know, I re-read Play by Stuart Brown over the holidays.  In the book, he talks about recording your play history:
    "The primary purpose of the play history is to get us back in touch with the joy that we have all experienced at some point in our lives.  Find that joy from the past and you are halfway to learning how to create it again in your present life."
    I decided to use my play history as a guideline for my dreams for 2011. It's a pretty simple process.  Brown has lots of prompts you can use, but the basic one is,
    "Start this exercise by spending some time thinking about what you did as a child that really got you excited, that really gave you joy."
    I brainstormed a big list of things that I enjoyed doing as a kid.  When I got stuck, I thought about how doing those things made me feel, and tried to think of other experiences that made me feel the same way as a child, or as an adult.

    Then, I grouped the different ideas by theme.  For example, dancing, walking, hiking, biking, and running all fit under Movement.  Sewing, drawing, collage, painting, baking, and embroidery went under Creativity.

    I ended up with 7 overarching themes, which I then used as guidelines for determining my dreams for the New Year.

    If you try this process for yourself, let me know how it goes, and don't forget to download your free DreamTree worksheet to record how you're going to play this year (:


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    Saturday, January 01, 2011

    Your 7 New Year's Dreams for 2011 (Free Worksheets)

    Happy New Year Have Fun, Do Gooders!

    The hubs illustrated 8 worksheets you can use to record your 2011 dreams.  You can download them (for free) from Dropbox at http://bit.ly/2011dreamtree.



    How to Use Your DreamTree Worksheets

    The first page has your DreamTree on it, blossoming with colorful eggs, where you can write words and phrases that capture your dreams for 2011.

    You'll also notice three gray balloons floating off into the distance.  Sometimes we have to let go of old dreams, to make room for new ones.  You can jot the dreams you're willing to let go of this year inside the gray balloons.

    Finally, the remaining 7 pages are close-ups of the colored eggs.  We figured you'd need more space to make a to-do list, or to describe your dream in words or images.

    If you'd like help filling in your DreamTree, I'm offering a special 2011 New Year's discount of  $20.11 off one-hour of Big Vision Consulting when you use the discount code DREAMTREE2011 between now and January 11, 2011.

    Have fun!


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