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   January, 2010

Revolution Messaging on Martin Luther King Jr. Day

On January 18th, Revolution Messaging staffers and friends volunteered at the Washington Hebrew Congregation’s 8th Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Work Day. We were surprised by the amount of energy and sheer number of people who came out to help various nonprofits–organizers reported that 200 more people showed up than was expected.

Between two floors, volunteers made tuna casseroles and PB&J sandwiches on long tables that stretched from one side of the room to the other. Due to the sheer volume of people, volunteers stood closely side-by-side, spreading peanut butter and jelly on bread or cutting up vegetables, while others packed it up to be sent to local homeless shelters.

After finishing making all the sandwiches we could (literally, we ran out of bread), the Revolution Messaging crew joined the other volunteers at Z-Burger, which generously contributed free burgers to those who worked at the event.

We want to send our thanks to the Washington Hebrew Congregation for organizing a successful service project that brought together over 200 local residents as well as Z-Burger for supporting community service.

On this day we remembered what Martin Luther King Jr. once declared: “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’” We encourage others to utilize community service databases such as Greater DC Cares, VolunteerMatch, Serve.Gov, and OneBrick to find answers to that question.


Going Offline for Service

Right now, we have an opportunity to live the saying “think globally, act locally.”

Since Tuesday, all our thoughts and prayers have been with the people going through a tragedy in Haiti. But there is hope, and we’ve embraced a new way to give it. So far, concerned citizens have donated $10 million through text messages to rebuild Haitian lives and communities. Mobile giving is revolutionizing the ability of people to give in a swift and urgent manner to those who need it most. It’s another way thinking globally is turning everyday devices into tools to improve the world.

In just minutes, you can donate money to Haiti relief efforts by texting YELE to 501501, HAITI to 20222, HAITI to 90999, or ONEHEART to 85944.

This Monday, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, is a national day of service. Projects around the country will offer opportunities to act locally, reminders that we can personally make a difference right in our own communities.

By taking Monday “on” instead of “off,” we in the DC area can help improve it by beautifying local parks, elementary schools, or donating food and warm clothes. The Revolution Messaging staff will go offline on Monday to work at the Washington Hebrew Congregation’s 8th annual MLK Jr. service project where we will prepare hot food and sandwiches for the homeless. We encourage clients and supporters to join us this Monday by RSVPing on Facebook.

For those outside the DC area, VolunteerMatch, Serve.Gov, OneBrick are great resources to find service projects in your community.


Text Message for Haiti

Please Give Now

Text YELE to 501501
Text HAITI to 90999
Text ONEHEART to 85944

A 7.0-magnitude earthquake devastated Haiti on Tuesday at 5pm ET.

Three hours later, singer Wyclef Jean posted news of the quake on his Twitter.

Sixty minutes later, the Haiti-born singer urged his 1,310,888 Twitter followers to donate $5 to the relief efforts by texting YELE to 501501. Yéle Haiti started in 2005 to provide community programs, food distribution and emergency relief for the country.

“I cannot stress enough what a human disaster this is, and idle hands will only make this tragedy worse,” Wyclef wrote on his blog. “The over 2 million people in Port-au-Prince tonight face catastrophe alone. We must act now.”

The Haitian Prime Minister estimates several hundred thousands of people may be dead. Only one hospital remains open in Haiti, all hospitals in the region were destroyed by the earthquake.

Jean’s Yéle allows supporters to donate easily to the organization’s Haiti Earthquake Fund. The money will be deducted directly from the user’s cell phone bill.

According to his Twitter, the former Fugees singer and Goodwill Ambassador to Haiti is currently en route to the country.

Others are also organizing mobile relief efforts. Singer Danny Gokey, the third place finalist on last season’s American Idol, has followed suit, facilitating text donations through Sophia’s Heart of Compassion, his own nonprofit. The Red Cross is also calling for people to text to donate $10 to their relief fund.


Our Recap

While we read over the many “Top of 2009″ and “Top of the Decade” lists, we realized that, hey, we’re a new media firm… we should be coming up with our own list of some sort!

So here it is: our favorite new media tools, as well as some of our predictions for 2010. This is not your parent’s recap!

The RevMSG Top of 2009

1. Twitter – By no means a brand new tool, its influence reached critical mass this year. We hardly need to rehash the details. Remember, though: three years ago, it was a small side project at a company focused on syndicating podcasts. Its rapid growth is a reminder that relying on what was working or what is working is vital but not enough. Successful new media companies are the ones that recognize what’s going to work in the future and figure out how to take advantage. That’s our goal. (Oh, and while we’re here: make sure to follow @revmsg!)

2. Evernote –  Digital Post it notes. So simple… sync your ideas from your phone to all of your computers.

3. Dropbox – Cloud computing for the individual! An easy way to keep your files backed up. Sync your files online & across computers. A 2GB account for free: http://rev.ms/dropbox

4. PeopleBrowsr – Search, filter, follow, post and repost messages from several social media accounts at once.

5. What the Hashtag – A sort of Wikipedia for the growing collection of Twitter hashtags.  They are tracking over 7000 hashtags making the white-noise of twitter a bit more searchable!

6. The Always-Growing World of Mobile Apps – Every day, we wage the battle in our office between the Droid and the iPhone. And with apps to detect metal or that recognize songs from your humming, the creativity and growth in this area aren’t ending any time soon.  It was a fun year! Text your favorite Mobile App recommendation to 738674 (spells REVMSG).

Our Predictions for 2010

1. The way we communicate will continue to shift. Whether people will start actually using Google Wave this year is under intense debate at our HQ, but we all agree on one thing. Twitter started something that other websites and apps will build upon. The way we communicate online, and in general, is rapidly changing. The big question is whether services that combine many different forms of communication (check out threadsy.com), or an entirely new form such as Wave, will be what we are using a year from now. Of course, mobile will play a large role. It increasingly appears that new media tools can’t remain viable if they can’t integrate with our phones.

2. You will become Nostalgic. It’s a new decade and with it comes a chance for our favorites from the past to find a way back into our lives again.  Hair bands, jelly bracelets and Unicorn videos never really go out of style.We know this because we all found this year’s Republican Party’s website make-over so amazing. (Who knows, maybe throwback email accounts will become trendy???) Nonetheless, we hope that basic practical tools win the day in 2010 and your orgs new media strategy will no-longer be about the newest social-networking rage.. but providing a better user experience- even if that means simply updating your ol’ Flickr account!

3. Mobile. It’s going to be so big this year – it deserves just one word. This plays into our first prediction, but mobile technology is opening huge new doors in social media, advertising, video, commerce, and so on. One thing that is being overlooked though is SMS. In many of the articles you read about the future of mobile there tends to be amnesia over the fact that there are still millions of people who are not on smart phones. Which is to say, if your mobile strategy relies too heavily on apps or mobile access to email, you are ignoring hundreds of millions of people. SMS and voice are still essential to reaching the masses!

We would love to hear your picks for 2009 and your predictions for 2010. So please email, tweet, start a Wave, send one of us a message on Facebook, or — even better — text message us. You can SMS your comments to 738674 (spells REVMSG).

Happy New Year!