Behind the scenes at a Telephone Town Hall with Lt. Governor Candidate Ronnie Earle

By Jennifer De Guelle

-Austin, Texas: 2/23/10

This past Tuesday evening, more than 9,000 registered Democratic voters “attended” – from the comfort of their own homes –a Telephone Town Hall Meeting with Ronnie Earle, candidate for Lt. Governor in Tuesday’s Democratic Primary.

As Campaign Social Media Coordinator, I saw this unique event as it happened, and afterward spoke to the candidate about why he was hosting it and what he hoped to achieve by it.

Mr. Earle said the idea was simple: to give people a direct voice using a “virtual” town hall that would erase geographic barriers and allow people across our vast state to directly question someone who wants to represent them.

He said he hoped the format would send a clear message; the voters are in control of the process, not only because he respects their opinions but because they are the decision makers who will determine the future of our state.   He said his job is to answer their questions, listen to their opinions, and find out how to best serve them.

Part of the reason I volunteered for this campaign is that I admire a candidate who doesn’t rely on focus-group-tested ads, scripted sound bites or the other gimmicks commonly used to manipulate voters in contested political races but who would rather give people the chance to ask him questions directly and to respond unscripted.

In my opinion, commitment to our shared democracy has to be more than an ideal; it must be exemplified by the actions of those we elect to lead.  Mr. Earle has made it clear that he intends to serve regular Texans, not the special interests who so often control lawmaking to serve their needs.

As a former state legislator and District Attorney of Travis County for the past thirty years, Ronnie Earle has a long track record of standing up for regular Texans and he wants people to make up their own minds on who to vote for based on who they feel is the most qualified candidate in the Democratic Primary.

Speaking with Ronnie Earle face to face, my lasting impression goes beyond an initial observation of a sharp mind, quick wit, and authentic Texas charm to one of a candidate who has genuine integrity and fierce resolve to govern independently, beholden only to the people of Texas.

The feeling you walk away with is that if democracy is the prize, this is the guy you want fighting in your corner on behalf of you and your neighbors.  I’m working on his campaign because I’m excited about the candidate, and I hope I can share some of that feeling with you – this is a genuinely good man, the kind we need to have more of in government.

Tuesday, March 2nd is Primary Election Day. I urge you to join me and Vote Ronnie Earle for Lieutenant Governor.

For more news and information about the campaign, visit and join the Ronnie Earle Facebook Fan Page. I’ll be posting more of my impressions about this exciting race on my personal Blog

Join Ronnie for a Telephone Town Hall Meeting on Monday, March 1st.

The call will begin at 6 PM with a second call starting at 8 PM. Each call will last approximately an hour. To join in the call, dial 1-877-229-8493 and when prompted enter PIN# 15592

Listen in and submit your questions by dialing *3 during the call.

Begin sending in your questions now to be answered live on air

Using Facebook:

Or Twitter:

Be sure to include the tag #TelRonnie in your Facebook Post or Tweet.

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Filed under Why I am working to elect Ronnie Earle For Lt. Governor

A Note to My readers–My Cause and Why it Matters

Dear Readers,

Helping Non-profits build their social media and web 2.0 marketing campaigns is my passion because the end result is a net positive impact on people’s lives. As a mother of two young children, my focus remains on making the world a better place than it was when I found it; that’s the commitment I made when I took on the responsibility of being a parent. More than just a new media professional, I am a member of my community and Austin is the city I call home. I am a Texan and for better or worse, I will never give up on my belief that we can restore our fair state back to a progressive, shared democracy. For far too long corruption and partisan politics have been the norm in Texas as well-moneyed special interests buy their way to the front of the line while regular citizens take a backseat and wonder why the system is so broken down.

I have taken the opportunity to support a cause that matters to me. This blog is meant to serve individuals regardless of political affiliation and my personal affiliation is not meant to influence my work at AustinMSW and SMCM. I am however supporting a political candidate that while registered as a Democrat, appeals to all Texans as a true independent, a man with a proven track record of fighting corruption, beholden only to the people of Texas.

Over the next few months, in addition to content on using social media to build your nonprofit, I will also be posting my observations as Coordinator of Social Media for the Ronnie Earle For Lieutenant Governor of Texas Campaign.

Thank you for your continued interest in Social Media Charity Matters.


Jennifer De Guelle
Founder, Social Media Charity Matters and AustinMSW Consultants

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Revenge of the Nerds: Life Imitates Art When Geeks Unite

Posted by Jennifer De Guelle


This post was inspired by The Society for Geek Advancement and the Summer of Social Good Charity Fund’s joint initiative  Global Geek Week

Revenge of the Nerds

If I learned anything from college or from the cult classic film Revenge of the Nerds it’s this, a properly motivated group of geeks is all you need to change the world.


If you are not already familiar with the film, a brief synopsis:

Freshmen computer science loving nerds are harassed by members of their collegiate Greek council made up mostly by  jocks who control the school. After loosing their dorm rooms to the powerful but irresponsible elites the nerds fight back and through their spunk, ingenuity and outside-the-box thinking they beat the jock fraternity at their own game and become the new leaders of the Greek student council.

Life Imitates Art When Geeks Unite

Life imitates art as geeks  have banded together in real life creating and using technology to level the playing field and  agitate the old guard.  So much so that they have created a cultural paradigm shift that imitates the film “Revenge of the Nerds”, geeks through their innovation have become the new “in crowd”. Dorks, brains, geeks, and NERDS as we were once called are now the new influencers. We have become the trendsetters, followed and admired by our former collegiate tormentors,  jocks, cheerleaders, and the affluent Greeks alike. If you still doubt the power of geeks, consider Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Larry Page and Sergery Brin.

Looks, athletic ability and inherited wealth have become an antiquated legacy defeated by the age of information and the digital revolution. Web 2.0 and social media allow the strength of your ideas and the popularity of your information to determine your success and no longer is it televised by and for a select group but dispersed across the networks we have created; blogging, micro blogging, wikis, youtube, facebook and so on and so forth. Decades of geek oppression have motivated us to act but not corrupted our spirit of fairness or our intent to create a place where anyone with talent and new ideas can contribute.

Perhaps that is why we feel little pity for the Greeks in the film because not unlike the current public outcry against the unchecked political corruption and corporate greed that has thrust us into our current state of economic crisis, we have to wonder why we let them have so much power in the first place to influence us when their interests and intentions served to benefit only a small group of people they deemed worthy as elites.

On that note, Generation X and Y Geeks not only use the power of web 2.0 and social media to shatter the status quo, they use it to make a positive impact on society. Perhaps our high school and college years served the purpose of reminding us Geeks what it feels like to be disregarded by the popular crowd and it has instilled in us a general mistrust of elitism and mob mentality. Geeks through the force of their own invention now have the power and they are embracing their responsibility to give back, adopting the philosophy that to those who much is given, much is required.

Take for example the campaign launched this week by Mashable’s, “Social Media for Social Good” and Summer of Social Good charity fund, in partnership with The Society for Geek Advancement; together they have launched Global Geek Week which includes a week long competition to submit a “geek inspired” video entry through Youtube and encourages people to use Twitter as a platform for sharing thoughts and ideas on how geeks can change the world for the better by including the hashtag “#Geeks4Good” in your the text of your tweet.

Consider submitting your video entry or contributing via Twitter. Altruism and responsibility as a hip new alternative lifestyle doesn’t have to be the mantra of  just us geeks, there is a geek inside everyone and now that it’s cool to do so, give in to your inner nerd because helping others ultimately benefits your life, geek or not.

Please read an excerpt from the following article by Mashable’s COO Adam Hirsch and consider how you can contribute your talent and ideas. Your success as a Nerd can help influence and promote the greater good and that is perhaps the sweetest Revenge a geek could ask for.

The Society for Geek Advancement and the Summer of Social Good charity fund are proud to announce Global Geek Week, including a week-long YouTube (YouTube) video competition.

Submit your geek inspired video to the Global Geek Week YouTube Group for the chance to win two roundtrip main cabin tickets to anywhere Virgin America flies, with Gogo passes so you can use WiFi to blog about the experience. Our Judges, including Guy Kawasaki, Shira Lazar, Hank Green of Vlogbrothers, Marina Orlova of TooHotForWords, puzzle champion Wei-Hwa Huang and Lisa Donovan aka LisaNova, will pick and announce the winners on Friday.

In addition, all week long we’re encouraging you to tweet and share how geeks can change the world (include the hashtag “#Geeks4Good”). Donate and keep up-to-date with video submissions, check out the twittervision global #geeks4good map and more at “Embrace your inner geek and give back!”

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Announcing AustinMSW’s Virtual Food Drive

In partnership with the Capital Area Food Bank of Texas we are hosting a Virtual Food Drive!

capital area food bank of texas

Visit our Virtual Food Drive Page to learn more about the Capital Area Food Bank and consider making an online donation or volunteering your time to help end hunger in Central Texas.

Social Media-Charity Matters & help Non-profits build social media/web 2.0 marketing strategies using e-tools & best practices. We are proud to support the CAPITAL AREA FOOD BANK OF TEXAS because no Central Texan should go hungry. Thank you for your support.

Progress: 0%

Progress: 0%
Raised: $ 0     Goal: $ 2000
8201 S. Congress Ave. Austin, TX 78745
Phone: 512-282-2111    Fax: 512-282-6606   Toll Free: 800-786-2616   E-mail Us

capital area food bank of texas

Call 512-282-2111 or email

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Filed under Social Media, Virtual Food Drive-Help End Hunger

10 Ways to Support Charity Through Social Media


This post is a collaboration between Mashable’s Summer of Social Good charitable fundraiser and Max Gladwell’s “10 Ways” series. The post is being simultaneously published across more than 100 blogs.

Social media is about connecting people and providing the tools necessary to have a conversation. That global conversation is an extremely powerful platform for spreading information and awareness about social causes and issues. That’s one of the reasons charities can benefit so greatly from being active on social media channels. But you can also do a lot to help your favorite charity or causes you are passionate about through social media.

Below is a list of 10 ways you can use social media to show your support for issues that are important to you. If you can think of any other ways to help charities via social web tools, please add them in the comments. If you’d like to retweet this post or take the conversation to Twitter or FriendFeed (FriendFeed), please use the hashtag #10Ways.

1. Write a Blog Post

Blogging is one of the easiest ways you can help a charity or cause you feel passionate about. Almost everyone has an outlet for blogging these days — whether that means a site running WordPress (WordPress), an account at LiveJournal, or a blog on MySpace or Facebook. By writing about issues you’re passionate about, you’re helping to spread awareness among your social circle. Because your friends or readers already trust you, what you say is influential.Recently, a group of green bloggers banded together to raise individual $1 donations from their readers. The beneficiaries included Sustainable Harvest, Kiva, Healthy Child, Healthy World, Environmental Working Group, and Water for People. The blog-driven campaign included voting to determine how the funds would be distributed between the charities. You can read about the results here.

You should also consider taking part in Blog Action Day, a once a year event in which thousands of blogs pledge to write at least one post about a specific social cause (last year it was fighting poverty). Blog Action Day will be on October 15 this year.

2. Share Stories with Friends

twitter-linksAnother way to spread awareness among your social graph is to share links to blog posts and news articles via sites like Twitter, Facebook, Delicious (Delicious), Digg (Digg), and even through email. Your network of friends is likely interested in what you have to say, so you have influence wherever you’ve gathered a social network.You’ll be doing charities you support a great service when you share links to their campaigns, or to articles about causes you care about.

3. Follow Charities on Social Networks

In addition to sharing links to articles about issues that you come across, you should also follow charities you support on the social networks where they are active. By increasing the size of their social graph, you’re increasing the size of their reach. When your charities tweet or post information about a campaign or a cause, statistics or a link to a good article, consider retweeting that post on Twitter, liking it on Facebook, or blogging about it.Following charities on social media sites is a great way to keep in the loop and get updates, and it’s a great way to help the charity increase its reach by spreading information to your friends and followers.

You can follow the Summer of Social Good Charities:

Oxfam America (Twitter (Twitter), Facebook (Facebook), MySpace (MySpace), Flickr (Flickr), YouTube (YouTube))
The Humane Society (Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, MySpace, Flickr)
LIVESTRONG (Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, YouTube, Flickr)
WWF (Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Flickr)

4. Support Causes on Awareness Hubs

change-wwfAnother way you can show your support for the charities you care about is to rally around them on awareness hubs like, Care2, or the Facebook Causes application. These are social networks or applications specifically built with non-profits in mind. They offer special tools and opportunities for charities to spread awareness of issues, take action, and raise money.It’s important to follow and support organizations on these sites because they’re another point of access for you to gather information about a charity or cause, and because by supporting your charity you’ll be increasing their overall reach. The more people they have following them and receiving their updates, the greater the chance that information they put out will spread virally.

5. Find Volunteer Opportunities

Using social media online can help connect you with volunteer opportunities offline, and according to web analytics firm Compete, traffic to volunteering sites is actually up sharply in 2009. Two of the biggest sites for locating volunteer opportunities are VolunteerMatch, which has almost 60,000 opportunities listed, and, which also lists paying jobs in the non-profit sector, in addition to maintaining databases of both volunteer jobs and willing volunteers.For those who are interested in helping out when volunteers are urgently needed in crisis situations, check out, a site which helps register and educate those who want to help during disasters so that local resources are not tied up directing the calls of eager volunteers. Teenagers, meanwhile, should check out, a site targeted at young adults seeking volunteer opportunities in their communities.

6. Embed a Widget on Your Site

Many charities offer embeddable widgets or badges that you can use on your social networking profiles or blogs to show your support. These badges generally serve one of two purposes (or both). They raise awareness of an issue and offer up a link or links to additional information. And very often they are used to raise money.Mashable’s Summer of Social Good campaign, for example, has a widget that does both. The embeddable widget, which was custom built using Sprout (the creators of ChipIn), can both collect funds and offer information about the four charities the campaign supports.

7. Organize a Tweetup

You can use online social media tools to organize offline events, which are a great way to gather together like-minded people to raise awareness, raise money, or just discuss an issue that’s important to you. Getting people together offline to learn about an important issue can really kick start the conversation and make supporting the cause seem more real.Be sure to check out Mashable’s guide to organizing a tweetup to make sure yours goes off without a hitch, or check to see if there are any tweetups in your area to attend that are already organized.

8. Express Yourself Using Video

As mentioned, blog posts are great, but a picture really says a thousand words. The web has become a lot more visual in recent years and there are now a large number of social tools to help you express yourself using video. When you record a video plea or call to action about your issue or charity, you can make your message sound more authentic and real. You can use sites like (, Vimeo (Vimeo), and YouTube to easily record and spread your video message.Last week, the Summer of Social Good campaign encouraged people to use video to show support for charity. The #12forGood campaign challenged people to submit a 12 second video of themselves doing something for the Summer of Social Good. That could be anything, from singing a song to reciting a poem to just dancing around like a maniac — the idea was to use the power of video to spread awareness about the campaign and the charities it supports.

If you’re more into watching videos than recording them, enables you to raise funds for charities like Unicef and St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital by sharing viral videos by e-mail.

9. Sign or Start a Petition

twititionThere aren’t many more powerful ways to support a cause than to sign your name to a petition. Petitions spread awareness and, when successfully carried out, can demonstrate massive support for an issue. By making petitions viral, the social web has arguably made them even more powerful tools for social change. There are a large number of petition creation and hosting web sites out there. One of the biggest is The Petition Site, which is operated by the social awareness network Care2, or, which has collected more than 79 million signatures over the years.Petitions are extremely powerful, because they can strike a chord, spread virally, and serve as a visual demonstration of the support that an issue has gathered. Social media fans will want to check out a fairly new option for creating and spreading petitions: Twitition, an application that allows people to create, spread, and sign petitions via Twitter.

10. Organize an Online Event

Social media is a great way to organize offline, but you can also use online tools to organize effective online events. That can mean free form fund raising drives, like the Twitter-and-blog-powered campaign to raise money for a crisis center in Illinois last month that took in over $130,000 in just two weeks. Or it could mean an organized “tweet-a-thon” like the ones run by the 12for12k group, which aims to raise $12,000 each month for a different charity.In March, 12for12k ran a 12-hour tweet-a-thon, in which any donation of at least $12 over a 12 hour period gained the person donating an entry into a drawing for prizes like an iPod Touch or a Nintendo Wii Fit. Last month, 12for12k took a different approach to an online event by holding a more ambitious 24-hour live video-a-thon, which included video interviews, music and sketch comedy performances, call-ins, and drawings for a large number of prizes given out to anyone who donated $12 or more.

Bonus: Think Outside the Box

blamedrewscancerSocial media provides almost limitless opportunity for being creative. You can think outside the box to come up with all sorts of innovative ways to raise money or awareness for a charity or cause. When Drew Olanoff was diagnosed with cancer, for example, he created Blame Drew’s Cancer, a campaign that encourages people to blow off steam by blaming his cancer for bad things in their lives using the Twitter hashtag #BlameDrewsCancer. Over 16,000 things have been blamed on Drew’s cancer, and he intends to find sponsors to turn those tweets into donations to LIVESTRONG once he beats the disease.Or check out Nathan Winters, who is biking across the United States and documenting the entire trip using social media tools, in order to raise money and awareness for The Nature Conservancy.

The number of innovative things you can do using social media to support a charity or spread information about an issue is nearly endless. Can you think of any others? Please share them in the comments.

Special thanks to

VPS Net logoA special thanks to, who are donating $100 to the Summer of Social Good for every signup they receive this week. Use the code “SOSG” and get 10% off your first purchase.

About the “10 Ways” Series

maxgladwell imageThe “10 Ways” Series was originated by Max Gladwell. This is the second simultaneous blog post in the series. The first ran on more than 80 blogs, including Mashable (Mashable). Among other things, it is a social media experiment and the exploration of a new content distribution model. You can follow Max Gladwell on Twitter.

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Filed under Social Media Social Good, Summer of Social Good

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