App regret, do you have ever get it?

You know the script; catchy advert plus flashy visual, toss in the use of the word “free” all  entice us to explore some new app to be a solution to some percieved need we have to gain time, fill space, have fun or market something. Then we go to use it and it happens; app regret.

I happen to come across this post post the other night on TimeWellSpent and thought it an interesting read. It looked at “time spent online on apps” versus “happiness with the apps”. All too often we are seeing more and more “pitched” messaging about people spending too much time online, or “face in the phone”.

I can’t say I haven’t said or done the same. But I am becoming more conscious of how often I do have my “face in the phone” and missing life in the moment. My own storytelling is rich and complex, so missing out on more to add to it is something I always seek to avoid. It is odd because as amataur photographer, self-taught by my grandfather, I remember him always having his face in the camera “capturing those moments” but also missing out on both being in them and in the moment. Yet,  here I am as an adult, and I find myself doing the same things. Knowing that I do this, I try not to stress so much about the amount of time spent. Rather, what I have been looking at is the quality of the time I spend on the apps.

What is my time worth as balanced with what I am looking to achieve with the an app.

Lately I find I am deleting apps more often then ever before. Perhaps it is a growing sense of dissatisfication with the quality of the design or usability; perhaps it is the “free” concept being saddled with an overwhelming number of pop-up ads interfering with the reason I selected the app. In some cases, it is simply regret, in that in the use of them, it is not doing anything for me as a person. No matter the cause – I think with so many new apps in development, and many of us always on the search for the perfect app to do “x”. We must ensure that not only does the usability and quality meet some sense of acceptability – we need to check in on how they make us feel while using them. Going to the trouble to download, pay (or not) an app, then getting aggrivated because of its quirky or wonky design, lack of function or simply poor intuitive instructions is not going to improve my day.

The writers at TimeWellSpent, whose tagline this morning was right on the nose Let’s demand technology that serves us, not advertising” may be on to something. I was pleasantly surprised to find that TimeWellSpent is actually a Bay Area company – so look forward to reading more about what seems like a growing share mindset from them

They partnered with Moment; an app that “that helps people track their screen time, to ask how much screen time in apps left people feeling happy, and how much time left them in regret“. It has selection bias but I think it offers us a another potential way to think about  when talking to users of apps.

The images below are screen shot that I took from the story., but I encourage you to take moment to read the brief but full story here




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My 5 core beliefs in how to use social media platforms; yes another opinion to consider.


Over the last few years, I have developed 5 core beliefs in how the use of social media platforms might be considered. As

Social media is eating the world.  Facebook alone has over 1.5 billion users – nearly 50% of the entire internet’s population. Throw in LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and region specific social networks like Vkontakte and Sina Weibo and WeChat, and you’d be hard pressed to find anyone who’s online but isn’t on social media”

With this, I can’t disagree. Social media is here to stay. But it isn’t the answer to every solution for success. Some “experts” believe you need to be on all of them to stay “current”. These would be those that are always the first at the party, ready to proselytize the ‘value” of the next great social media platform. But I see it differently, and do not feel that “all” is a perfect fit for everyone.  Instead I suggest a viewpoint, that offers the lens of ” Why do it,  if you aren’t ready to be, or if they aren’t likely to add value to your project?“.

I came to this thinking after being reminded of a former client. His work was personal, customized, very hands-on artistic and often marketed from word of mouth. Folks kept telling him how much he needed to be on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, etc. This caused him stress, as he wasn’t a tech savvy person in general, and then made him question his business acumen and confidence. By the time he called me, he was all set to jump on every platform. Sort of like that new puppy you bring home, all eager and playful he had a whole agenda and calendar in mind. That is until I candidly asked to tell me: “What did he hope to gain from each platform?”;
  • Audience?
  • Profits?
  • Clients?
  • Reputation?
  • Adoration?
  • Self-confidence?
Until that moment,  no one had even asked him to consider “not being on a platform” or encouraged him to think how would he measure and allocate the time for them. Now, some companies and consultants can take on this work on a clients behalf, for a fee; even I do it from time to time with clients or as part of my Storytelling Bootcamp series. If it isn’t an industry I am familiar with, all I am really doing is playing the middle administrative function. Working with the owners “ideas” and assisting in the logistics of the platforms, someone still needs to create the original content to use. In the end, instead of casting a wide and diffused landscape of social media, he opted to use only some of the platforms; concentrating on the ones that met his needs, based on a concrete set of goals, understood time limitations, and technical comfort.

That all being said – here are my 5 core beliefs in using digital social media for a small business

  • Core Beliefs Number 1: “Shit rolls down hill”;

    Don’t commit to it, if you don’t want to do it. You can’t expect your junior staff or an intern to carry it forward in the same way you would. You won’t be happy with the results. The nuances of the small business and entrepreneurism is the relationship to an owner’s personal style, theme, and focus. It can be very hard to have others replicate you. Remember, social media is just another form of your personal ability to use “storytelling” for your brand

  • Core Beliefs Number 2: Don’t hide your head in the sand.

    If your blog allows for comments or you know you have accounts on Yelp, Angie’s List, GlassDoor etc, don’t be afraid to read what people are saying. You do not have to like all the comments. But ignoring them won’t make them go away.  If fact each of the “criticisms” is an opportunity for you to:

a) Appreciate that a person took the time to share concerns;

b) promote new or changed policies that were in the works or are a result of the comment and

c) craft a response that shows you care, what and how your business interacts with its clients.

  • Core Beliefs Number 3: Never be afraid to say “I don’t know”.

When you don’t know the answer or how to make it happen, be honest and say that. Most people find that being honest, and then following up with “but let me find out and let you know” and then actually remembering to follow up will gain you a more sustainable memory to that person. Whereas that “1/2 truth” that sounds good for a minute, then later when proven wrong, will only make you look like a fool later.

  • Core Beliefs Number 4: You don’t need to be on every social media platform.

    Just because it is trending, doesn’t mean it’s the best fit for you. Understand the strengths and weaknesses of each platform and question if it is in sync with your goals as a business. Consider how much you are willing to allocate to social media accounts. That includes knowing what (if any) budget you want to invest, and how much time you can afford to spend. Ultimately – don’t do it because someone says you “just have got to be on x”.

  • Balancing Activism, Privilege, and Social Media with Frank Strona on Hack the Process Podcast, Episode 43

    Core Beliefs Number 5: Take Risks.

    You all have heard the saying “think outside the box”. While it can be “trendy” and a catch all phrase – there are some selling points to expanding beyond your boundaries of creativity. One is looking at who are your natural collaborators. Short-term, partnering, collaborating and local joint-sponsored activities can actually expand your success without a lot of resources by getting you access to different markets. Be sure to include the collaborators that may not come to mind initially. Be willing to allow some creative thinking, link sharing and brainstorming how a measured collaboration would look like. In the end, it could mean access to huge untapped opportunities. One example that was truly a great experience for me recently, was guesting on other blogger’s podcasts. Instead of starting my own, I was able to leverage a guest shots and use those links as content and feed material to promote my Facebook page MentorSFCA and also my own work in MentorSF.








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The cost of being digital savvy. 

Posted August 22, 2017 By Frank Strona
Trade Show Sharing

Savvy is such an unqiue word in bussiness and can mean so many things.

PR Daily recented posted the following Report:  Half of all organizations lack sufficient digital savvy.

It was an intresting read in that it gave some support as to why one of my top calls are savvy related  and come from senior leaders asking for confidential Social Media overview and support services. Many of these requests are often built into other meetingss, so that the actual content is as obvious to the other team or subordinants.  They cite the  PwC’s 2017 Digital IQ survey. Clearly getting the  the concern that people have as “business processes become increasingly “digital”—and roles become more complex—we’re entering an era of uncertainty about hacks, data breaches and privacy”

What does it take to be savvy?

Very little in some cases. Mostly it is your time and willingness to think in a “call to action/motivation” framework and be ok with that fact thay the models and tools change rapidly.

When I get one of these request – in most cases 2 – 3 sessions will get someone up to spead and motivate them to do the rest of the experiencial work solo.

Check out the full read HERE

Interesting is speaking with me further about your needs?

Contact me direct at

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Storytelling. How do you show it’s power?

This is the power of storytelling. When it hurts the most, is when the story is the most important to share.

Heather Heyer’s Mom speaks about her daughter at the memorial service. Getting huge coverage in the press Washginton Post and the New York Times this remarkable women is reminding us that we each need to take a stand and not stand silent.

The quote that has captured the attention and hearts of the world;

“They tried to kill my child to shut her up…”

Note: A GoFundMe campaign created to support Ms. Heyer’s family had surpassed $200,000 as of Sunday evening.


Video curtesy of Facebook Videos code, posted by former SF mayor & 49th Lt. Gov. of California, Gavin Newsom

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Loving that the Storytelling Movement Continues

Posted August 7, 2017 By Frank Strona

 The Storytelling Movement Continues

Just catching up on some of my news feeds and came across this recent post from the Edge Network. As many of you know I hold a special place in my heart, head (and yes, evan my wallet) about the significant importance of  “Storytelling“. It is more than something just for children and I  love how seeing more and more forums integrating the technique into everything from health communication, care, advocacy, to finance.

Edge Network; Oral Histories of San Fran Activism

New Storytelling Project to Gather Oral Histories on San Francisco AIDS Activism

The GLBT Historical Society has launched a new oral history project under the guidance of historian Joey Plaster to chronicle, preserve and share the history of ACT UP/San Francisco and other AIDS direct-action groups.

For more on Storytelling and the full story:

For more information

About providing an interview or volunteering, contact Joey Plaster at To take part in the conversation and get regular updates, join the project’s Facebook group and visit the project’s page on the GLBT Historical Society website.

For more information on the GLBT Historical Society, visit

Interested in how you can add Storytelling?  
Find out more details on the MentorSF’s  Storytelling Technology Bootcamp 

This engaged hands-on “Bootcamp” style workshop is an overview of ways and tools to share personal and communal stories with your family, friends or for wider sharing. It will cover the use of different tools and platforms from micro-blogging, to full out blog tools, e-journaling, use of Facebook as a story collector and more.

The 60 – 90 minute sessions are each designed to be interactive can be taken in any order. Sessions are arranged for 1:1 learning in person or online. For more information visit:Storytelling Technology Bootcamp

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Storytelling the Intergenerational LGBTQ Culture way with The Generations Project ( 

Sharing stories that spane the LGBTQ experience one story at a time. 

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More ways to increase your income with Social Media

Posted July 25, 2017 By Frank Strona

Never miss an opportunity because of a closed door

Income. Like it or not, it is what keeps our business solvent. The Funding Circle Resource Center just shared an interesting and super user-friendly read on way to increase your income with Social Media. They suggest ways, with minimal outlay, you can see a significant increase. While I think it goes deeper than any simple list can lay out, and what most of the list doesn’t account for is the cost of your time – I think its a great “idea read” to prompt some active engagement with your teams, or yourself on ways to “up” your opportunities.

The 6 step plan they offer is  based on the following points: 
  • Step 1: Goals
  • Step 2: Budget
  • Step 3: Platforms
  • Step 4: Audience
  • Step 5: Creativity
  • Step 6: Analyze
I think the list is a good reminder. I also shared a version from the State of Digital back in 2016, that was equally as simple – but I added a few adaptions you might find interesting as well. You can read my Engage!  post on Thinking behind promotion your digital content  to get an idea.
For the full read of the  article from the Funding Circle, Resource Center visit them here:
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My DC Pal, Strother Gaines is the guest on the podcast this week and does a great job sharing and talking about his coaching work through but really spent some time with podcast host Lisa Cummings, StrengthsFinder Speaker/Trainer at Lead ThroughStrengths on the insights and the pitfalls that happen when we stay stuck and forget how to be more than the “character” we play in life. I so share his feelings that after so much effort in the academic or real world efforts towards a carrer – it can become a struggle to then find that it, as you achieve, it may not be what you hold as the reason to wake up each day.
 Team Unicorn
“it’s a lot easier to just be a horse, blend in and call it a day but a Unicorn can’t do that.
It’s impossible to hide how awesome it is because it’s got a giant horn on it’s head.
Everyone can see it. Everybody knows. There’s nowhere to hide and a Unicorn doesn’t want to.” 
— Strother Gaines,
I really resonated on his thoughts about the importance that we have to taking responsibility towards being “our best self”.  Something I have shared on before, when I frame the need for our “being the best we can be, for ourselves first”.  I know it is not an easy process. The economic and emotional impact of how others see a change, all play a crucial deciding role in that moment where we get the chance to “turn & pivot”. I encourage you to take some time and visit and listen to the podcast in its entirerty.

I also found some really great resources, you may want to check out both on Strother’s site: as well as on Lisa’s webite: 

Check out Strother’s get-to-know-him video and the full TEDx talk on Storytelling as well.

Strother Gaines Podcast on

This Episode’s Focus on Strengths, Authenticity and Connection with Unicorn Strother Gaines

This week Lisa chats with Strother Gaines, where they talk about using your strengths to maximize the authentic “you” at work.  Strother works with a lot of clients who feel trapped in other people’s expectations. This interview will help you look at your innate talents and focus on who you are at your natural best. By doing that, you’ll make stronger connections in your career because you’re not working so hard at showing up like you think you’re supposed to at the office.
















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#MentorSFCA Moments nonprofits

From one of the #MentorSFCA Moments recently posted on Twitter.

Nonprofits don’t always have the access to the leading edge of tech or traiing. So it’s good to share tips when I can. I’ve been a fan of Craig Newmark efforts with nonprofits for several years and it’s not becuase we have ever met. Note: we had spoken a few years back on a project I was working for the Health Department. Rather he doesnt stop moving. He trys new things out, samples them, then if they seem to success, he finds the right people to handle them, he reaches out to those who can benefit from his efforts, then, he is off to a new adventure to discover. Even when he didnt quite get the need, he was at least open to listening to a pitch. At least that has been my take on him

On his blog he recently shared this article.  I  impressed with its simplicity and clarity – sometimes these “5 Things” or “10 Ways To…” really are just a fancy way for those trying garnish more metrics and meaurements either from hits or revenue (ie SEO). No if you don’t know Search Engine Optimization (or SEO) which is really just the fancy way to figure out how to measure what you are dong online and increase impact.  One of the limitations I think that SEO recommandations have is that they are more often than not – marketing driven. Weak in an understanding of communications (health or otherwise) or “call to action” from the service side. Something that I think nonprofits often need more of.

So occassionally when I come across some lists that really are content driven and have value worth sharing (and if they get Craig strong ompimazation in the mean time great!), as this one is, I’ll willing to share it out. As someone who works routinely with small health and social justice non-profits, many of which lack big funders, or in house tech – these were great reminders.

For the full article visit: 

Curated via post 

5 Things Nonprofits Should Be Doing On Social Media

I’l not repost his list and all the content, because well  – its his. But did want to tease with the 5 bullets and encourage you to check out the short read over that new cup of coffee or while waiting in line (jsut not while in your car please).

1. Keep up with the latest trends. (Not even gonna touch this one, but you can read more here on StoryTelling or my Engage Post on the Power of Telling Stories  and my own ideas on that)

2. Write the content that you want shared. (That means, you have to script what you want shared)

3. Team up with allied orgs and your biggest supporters to host a Twitter Chat. (Partnerships come in all shapes and sizes – use them creatively.)

4. Don’t add punctuation to a hashtag.  (I might add — think about the reasons behind using a hashtag as well)

5. Make sure your content is mobile-friendly. (Yeah – that means you might need to spend some money to redesign that inhouse template website to ensure its functional)



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NTEN’s 18NTC for those working and leading nonprofits

Posted June 25, 2017 By Frank Strona

NTEN’s 18NTC for those working and leading nonprofits and ready to expand the boundaries of social media & digital opportunities

For those of you looking to expand your networking and socializing with others in the nonprofit sector with a love and head for social media, data, and communication – you will want to put the annual NTEN ( 18NTC ) sponsored the conference in New Orleans on your calendar for 2018. I attended it last when it was held in Austin (#15NTC).  I can honestly say that it was some of the best minglings of folks I had seen in a while. Strong on women and diversity representation – the diverse and creative blending of the presenters, vendors and top notch attendees really made this the event for the  “limited travel budget” goer one worth advocating.

From #15NTC co-presented workshop

To find out more about the 18NTC conference, visit: (#18NTC for those of you who follow your hashtags on twitter).  Now if you can’t wait till then – they have several other tech conferences remaining in 2017 including:

>>> Albuquerque New Mexico in September for the Nonprofit Tech Roundup/Digital Strategy event

>>> Portland Oregon in October for the NonProfit Tech Roundup

Engaged Learning from NTEN

Other ways for you to get involved with NTEN is to visit and sign up for some of its educational programming both online and in-person. They also have a “Nonprofit Technology Professional Certificate” program but I haven’t experienced that, so can’t speak much on it but you can read more on it here:

For a full list of events visit the NTEN Events Calendar  

For those of you curious about NTEN itself – check out its mission and values statements – something they proudly put forward upfront and visible.
This is somewhat why I find these folks so powerful and compelling. They aren’t just tossing together a social media “extravaganza”. Not that there is anything innately wrong with an excuse to have a party – because these folks do know have to have fun. But they really understand the unique way that digital technology partners with health and community services, nonprofit and planning.

You may also want to think about joining the NTEN membership.

Annual membership offers reduced rates on events and the online trainings.  Information on becoming a member can be found here:
Membership rates are affordable. Especially compared to the over priced rates you see from marketing and for-profit organizations. Many of the higher priced ones focus on SEO and “sales-thinking” over social justice and the unique needs of the nonprofit.  The membership rates range from $99 for an individual. They offer a tiered rate system for organizations from $195 to $1000.  Both non-profit and for profit organizations are welcome to become members. Other member benefits are listed on it’s membership page.





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