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2 local organizations for social media help

December 23, 2011 Leave a comment

by Heidi Adams

I think we’ve all heard the saying it’s not what you know it’s who you know?  I think that in the case of social media that is even more true.  Sometimes networking offline is just as important as sitting at your desk tweeting.

There are two organizations in the community that make a point to do offline networking to improve their members’ online influence. You aren’t required to be a marketing professional or even a social media professional to be a part of these organizations. If you’re a new comer to social media or a pro the meetings and events provided by these organizations is a are great opportunities to bounce ideas off of professionals and peers.  Social media tools, trends and tips are discussed and networking is inevitable.

Social Media Breakfast:

Linkedin.com : Social Media Breakfast – Madison

Twitter: @smbmad

Facebook: facebook.com/socialmediabreakfastmadison

Website: www.socialmediabreakfast.com

Email: smbad@gmail.com

Who are they?

Social Media Breakfast is a non-profit organization that was founded in 2007.  Originally it started in Boston and there are now over 40 cities around the world that have their own chapter.  The Madison Chapter was founded in 2009.

On the Madison Chapter’s website the mission statement is front and center, “Early morning meetings with a focus on education, networking and caffeine”.

What do they do?

Since one of the goals in their mission statement is education, events put on by this organization are a great forum for learning about social media. SMBMad has an early morning meeting every 3rd Wednesday of the month at varying locations. Events range from speakers, panels or work sessions. It is a great opportunity to network face to face.  Best practices are discussed and reviewed at these meetings.  Registration for these meetings is required and you sign up via Eventbrite.  (Search for Social Media Breakfast Madison) The events are typically free due to sponsorship for businesses in the community.

In addition to the face to face meet-ups SMBMad keep an updated Twitter, Facebook and Linked In feed.  Discussions on what to meet about next or job openings are just some of the things discussed. Blogs from some of the board members are posted to the Linked In group feed as well.

Social Media Club, Madison:

Linkedin.com : Social Media Club of Madison (MadisonSMC)

Twitter: @MadisonSMC

Facebook: facebook.com/MadisonSMC

Google+: Social Media Club of Madison

Website: madisonsmc.org

Email: MadisonSMC@gmail.com

Who are they?

The mission statement of the Social Media Club National Organization is, “to expand digital media literacy, promote standard technologies, encourage ethical behavior and share best practices.”  The local Madison branch states on its site that they “focus on networking within the group” and goes on to say “we like to include a social media tool focus.”

The national group was started in San Francisco in 2006. Membership in the local branch is free and there are varying degrees of membership for the national organization.

What do they do?

Monthly events are held after business hours from local sponsors.  The last event was at The Madison Club .  Prior to that there was a meet up at AJ Bombers to socialize and raise money for the local group.  Other past events have included panel discussions, speakers and even pub-crawls with Foursquare.

It is suggested to register for these events and registration is available via Eventbrite. (search for MadisonSMC)

They also have active Twitter and Facebook pages that focus on social media trends and local topics.

Ready to Bcycle

December 14, 2011 Leave a comment

By: Pete Patten

The city of Madison initiated a bike sharing program that is open to anybody who wishes to participate. The program, called B-cycle, started a soft launch of the bikes in May of 2011. The official start date of the program began in late-July of 2011. This programs aims to boost the local economy along with increase the health benefits of biking. This program is also a “green” decision as people using a bike to cruise through the city is better than a car. Madison is known to be at the forefront of “going green” and the B-cycle fits that mold.

Newly elected Mayor Paul Soglin wasn’t keen on the original contract that was made between the City of Madison and Trek, who supplies the bikes and stations. Back in April, Soglin and Trek modified the contract which reduced the city’s cost from $100,000 annually down to $1 annually. In return for the reduced cost, the city extended the contract out to five years. Cutting down the cost to the city was a key issue that needed to be taken care of considering the tight budgets and today’s economy.
According to B-Cycle, the bikes have software installed on them that calculates the distance traveled. The software also measures how many calories are burned as well as the estimated carbon footprint offset by the ride. There is also a GPS unit on each bike that allows B-cycle officials to know where each bike is located at any moment.

A bike helmet

Image via Wikipedia

Helmets are not provided through the program but bicyclists are recommended to bring their own helmet. The bright red bikes have a basket on the front along with a light and a lock.
The bikes are scattered throughout the downtown area with stations also on campus for students to use.
 Students who become members receive a discount of $20 for an annual pass. Non-student members can
get an annual pass for $65 a year. All rides must be limited to 30 minutes. If a trip lasts for more than the 30 minutes, there is an additional charge. For people that don’t want to become a member, a daily pass will cost $10 per day for unlimited rides under 30 minutes.
Madison has long promoted bicycling. The Capital City State Trail that runs through Madison has over 17 miles of bike paths. This trail provides an opportunity for cyclists to view the scenic landscape of Madison and surrounding areas as it connects to the Glacial Drumlin State Trail.
City officials believe this program will help boost the local economy. Students, friends, and families of any size can enjoy the unique downtown setting of Madison while getting exercise and reducing carbon emissions.
Mother Nature needs to cooperate in order to make this program successful. The spring and fall seasons can be very unpredictable in Wisconsin. Summer months in the Capitol city can bring sticky, humid weather.
Madison remains confident that the bike program will prove beneficial to not only the health of the public, but also all of the small retail shops and restaurants that are in the downtown area.

Going Green- and reconnecting with your inner child!

December 14, 2011 Leave a comment
Written By: Steve Krause
Going Green” seems to be a common theme in the world we live in today. Everything from hybrid cars, environmental friendly products like paint, solar and wind energy alternatives, to recycling awareness, going green is definitely an emerging trend that is affecting the way many people live their everyday lives.
Madison's Isthmus (My Home)

Madison's Isthmus (My Home) (Photo credit: robbyb)

One of the newer environmental conscious programs that Madison has gotten involved with is the bike-share program known as B Cycle. Bike-share programs allow people to swipe their credit cards at a kiosk or station that has a number of bikes available for riders to take on rides and then return them to the same kiosk/station or a different kiosk/station in another location. In the article, “Bike-share Program Gets OK From Madison Leaders”, written by Gena Kittner, Kittner states that 350 bikes in 27 stations downtown are being made available to people in Madison through an arm of Trek Bicycle Corp.
Rates for bike share programs vary from city to city. Kittner states that the Denver bike share rates are any ride under 30 minutes are free with day rates being a mere $5 and yearly memberships set at $65. According to their website, Madison B Cycle offers a 24 hour pass for $10, 7-day rate for $30, and an annual rate for $65 with small additional fees being added for any rides over 30 minutes. 
This bike share program is a great opportunity for people to get out of the house and enjoy a nice day with friends, family, or even a great option for a cheap date. It is also great for quick trips for running errands in a timely fashion without having to find a parking spot or pay for parking. It also beats fighting the mad rush of bumper-to-bumper traffic reducing stress levels while also allowing you to reconnect with the inner kid in yourself.
The Madison B Cycle program will also help with lower air pollution in Madison by reducing emissions produced by vehicles. Just think of all the short trips you have to take that are just out of the reach of walking distance resulting in you driving your vehicle. Now Madisonian’s have a nice cheap eco-friendly alternative to help reduce the air pollution in our fine city. According to the bikes belong website, a study showed that the bike share program in Barcelona reduced carbon dioxide emissions by 9,000 metric tons every year.
The Madison B Cycle program can also be a nice healthier alternative for individuals in the Madison area. We all know that biking can be a great and entertaining form of exercise for individuals looking to live a healthy and active lifestyle. Biking gives people a fun way to work on their cardio as opposed to running on a boring treadmill for a certain amount of time everyday. Also, according to the bikes belong website Barcelona bike share studies I mentioned earlier, the health benefits of using the program outweighed the risk of being involved in a crash by 77 to 1. If you ask me, if you are a responsible person and take the proper precautions while riding that’s about as close to peace of mind as you can get.
The Madison bike share program B Cycle is truly a fun, cheap, and unique way for you and yours to get a real feel for the city of Madison while helping the environment and to live a healthy and active lifestyle. Its cheap, its fun, it helps the environment and your personal health, what’s not to like? I encourage everyone to take a look at the Madison bike share website at madison.bcycle.com to get a feel for how it works, what their rates are, how you could be a donor to the program, and how to take advantage of this fun and unique program that is offered to everyone in the Madison area.

From voluntary to vital- Corporate Social Responsibility

December 14, 2011 Leave a comment
   The global trend for environmental green initiatives is fast becoming mandatory. It seems like everywhere you look businesses are “going green” and are enhancing their reputation for social responsibly. Enacting energy conservation programs, or using solar & wind powered electricity, buying recycled products, buying more sustainable materials, using less hazardous cleaning products or improving lighting, heating/AC efficiencies.
   This trend is becoming so popular that it goes by it’s acronym CSR, or Corporate Social Responsibility.
According to The Economist  “CSR reporting can help drive performance in a business, and in just over ten years, corporate sustainability reporting has shifted from voluntary to vital.” Having a corporate social responsibility plan is just as critical as a business plan or a marketing plan.
Traditionally the Madison area has openly and aggressively adapted environmental green
initiatives based on our city’s local behavior and culture. And the surge of toward environmental responsibility has put pressure on business. The trend for businesses to minimizing their environmental impact in the Madison area and positively contribute to the environment by adapting green business practices is growing.
A study conducted by IBM discusses how CSR and responsible business practices fit into society and how it affects consumer perception.
So how can your business adapt a CSR? Join the folks at The Green Scene for tips to get involved.
Or check out a local meet up!
An article in the Wisconsin State Journal shows that UW Madison is recognizing areabusinesses who have adopted efforts to go green with the Green Masters Program
The bottom line is that consumers are interested in corporate social responsibility. They have strong opinions about how the companies they support contribute to the environment and their community.
A consumer is much more likely to support a business that they feel is “doing the right thing”.  To help you earn how CSR affects your business, watch this video.
Local examples of CSR commitments:
Tags: corporate social responsibility, CSR, green initiatives