Aug
21
2009

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News from the Case Foundation and what people are talking about this week in the world of giving, tech and everything in between.

Yahoo! launches CentMail to fight spam, benefit charity As reported by Wired.com, Yahoo!'s research group has launched the private beta of CentMail, a new service that is designed to fight spam by asking users to "stamp" their e-mails by paying one cent per e-mail.  All proceeds from CentMail will be donated to charity as chosen by the user.  As Wired notes, "the idea behind CentMail is that paying to send e-mail — even a single cent — differentiates a real e-mail from spam blasts, and thus, spam filters can be adjusted to let the stamped mail sail right through..."   A New Scientist article explains the thought process behind the charitable twist on the Yahoo! program as a response to the notion that some e-mailers may resist the idea of paying to send e-mail: "By passing the money onto a charity of the sender's choice, and showing the donation in a 'stamp' at the bottom of every email sent, CentMail aims to make senders feel an altruistic glow to balance that perceived cost."  ABCNews.com and the New York Times' Freakonomics blog also covered this story.

SEC struggles with its social media policy College sports' Southeastern Conference (SEC) made waves earlier this week when it was reported that the conference had sent a new media policy to its member schools banning the use of social media at sporting events, as part of its overall efforts to maintain exclusivity with the television broadcasts of its games.  According to an initial report in the Tampa Tribune:

...the policy also includes rules for fans in the stands. No updating Twitter feeds. No taking photos with phones and posting them on Facebook or Flickr. No taking videos and putting them on YouTube.

Following the initial reports, there was quite a bit of backlash surrounding the new policy amongst the blogging community and more broadly amongst sports and social media fans. My colleague Kristin Ivie, outlines the issue well on the Social Citizens blog:

For our generation, tweeting about something, adding it to our Facebook status or photo album and the like is just an extension of our attending the event...Telling Millennials we can’t produce, own and disseminate accounts of college sporting events we attend is kind of like telling us we can’t own our thoughts or experiences while there.

In response to the vocal feedback it received publicly, the SEC revised its guidelines, and as Switched.com reports, "a new policy released yesterday limits the ban to material that could be used as a 'substitute for radio, television or video coverage of such event,'" meaning Twitter and Facebook status updates would in fact be permitted at sporting events after all.  Adam Ostrow at Mashable, who was one of the first to report the new policy, commented on the revision:

...the SEC has a point in wanting to protect what’s currently an enormous source of revenue. But so long as complimentary forms of social media – like Twitter, Facebook, and photo services – are allowed, at least the conference is moving in the right direction for both the fans and itself.

The Marketplace radio show also has a nice piece recapping the revision of the SEC policy.

Bloggers discuss the line between personal and professional There was an interesting back and forth between Beth Kanter and Sean Stannard-Stockton this week discussing the benefits of bringing a human element to social media.  The discussion stemmed from a previous post by Beth analyzing the patterns in "voices" with which different foundations are using Twitter.  On his blog, Tactical Philanthropy, Sean noted his preference for Foundations that showed some personality through Twitter, stating that:

...the key thing is to put humans at the center. Knowledge is not some sort of physical element that we can stack in a room somewhere and index easily. Knowledge is a concept that is rooted in the very fact that we are human.

In Beth's response, she links to some very insightful articles and blog posts related to this topic and arguing for the need to bring a human element into any social media strategy.  As a foundation, we're exploring the best mix of individual and organizational strategies when it comes to using Twitter - how do you think we're doing?

Knight Foundation grantee acquired by MSNBC This week, hyperlocal news aggregator Everyblock was acquired by MSNBC. Everyblock was initially funded by the Knight Foundation; Everyblock's founder won the Foundation's Knight News Challenge in 2007. As TechCrunch reports, Everyblock is the latest in a series of acquisitions in the hyperlocal space, and provides MSNBC with a platform to push highly localized news and information. Following the acquisition announcements, several blogs and news outlets analyzed what this means for the news space in general and debated the implications of the so-called "hyperlocal" push, including PaidContent's Staci KramerCNET's Don Reisinger provides a good overview of all the hyperlocal services currently available and what they offer. 

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