20 April 2011

Things I Like: The Center for Global Development

This is the third post in my weekly series Things I Like.  Last week I featured More than Good Intentions.  You can follow the series by going here.

There are many reasons to be like the Center for Global development, but their use of social media to share information and ideas is the aspect of the organization which attracts me most. They are one of a few organizations who seem to have a clear strategy for social media which encourages staff and fellows to use blogging and twitter by not simply broadcasting, but interacting with others who make up the diverse field of development.

This allows for us to journey along with David Roodman as he works on his book on microfinance, listen to excellent podcasts by Lawrence MacDonald who hosts the Global Prosperity Wonkcast, and trade tweets with the likes of Michael Clemens, Owen Barder, and Amanda Glassman.
Knowledge is shared openly and made accessible through the organization's social media efforts. One example is the discussion on Cash-on-Delivery aid which has been blogged about by Nancy Birdsall extensively. In doing so, it has engaged other aid bloggers to take a critical look at the idea. Rather than ignore the posts and questions, Birdsall took to the Views From the Center blog and immediately addressed some of these concerns. This is how social media can be effectively used by an organization.

When asked to speak at an InterAction luncheon a few months back, I listed the Center for Global Development as a model for effective social media engagement. In that time, I have yet to see an organization who approaches this level of engagement and that is said without even discussing the research that they enable to happen.

I will probably have researchers as a future "Things I Like" post, so I do have a bit of a bias for an place like CGDev, but I have focused on their social media approach because I believe it is one of the most effective ways to develop innovative research.

There have been recent posts by Tales From the Hood and KM on a Dollar a Day on the question of whether aid blogging matters.  By doing this it is obvious that I think it does matter, at leas to myself, but the Center for Global Development is an example of why it matters.  They show that information can be discussed and shared by an organization through the enabling of individuals to engage.  This is why I see them as a model for using social media and believe that NGOs can emulate them.

Note: Don't think I forgot about last week's contest.  The winner will be announced at noon.