Technology

Friday Buzz: Where Art Thou, Data?

By / May 23, 2014 (iStock/Thinkstock)

Why data structures are becoming more important than ever in the age of the cloud. Also: a massive list of keyboard shortcuts.

“[K]eeping good data and serving your missions should not be mutually exclusive. Without easily accessible data, you can’t build reports for your board or measure how much progress your organization is making.”

Idealist Consulting’s Kirsten Kippen realizes that if you’re slaving away at a nonprofit, you have bigger fish to fry than data structures.

Nonetheless, she argues over at NTEN, data accessibility should remain a cornerstone of your process, especially as we move a lot of that data to cloud-enabled platforms.

Part of the problem, she says, is that many nonprofits don’t have automated systems that ensure good strategies—whether it’s a single database full of inconsistent categories or a cluster of files whose formats change seemingly on a whim.

“[S]ometimes it’s in a spreadsheet, sometimes Word, sometimes a Google doc, sometimes an uneditable PDF. Having multiple formats means it’s impossible to search or compile quickly into a report,” she writes.

Kippen suggests that the right cloud platform can play a role in making complex data more harmonious. Read more over this way.

Muscle Memory

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The difference between an average user and a power user is all in the keys. Sure, smart keyboard use may save only a second or two, but that time adds up, allowing you to focus on the task at hand—especially in apps like Photoshop or Gmail, where the focus is on creating or communicating, not commands.

For those still click-clacking away at a mouse, the Buffer blog has a nice in-depth list of shortcuts for many popular programs, social networks, or web apps. (Buffer has one itself: Option-B will bring up the social app’s dialog screen if you have the extension installed.) Have any tricks of your own you’d like to share, keyboard nerds?

Other good reads

Think you’re good at writing clear, concise language? Try explaining something complex to a 2-year-old, Kivi’s Nonprofit Communications Blog suggests.

MemberClicks has a checklist on whether going flex is a good approach for your association’s staff.

Speaking of flexibility (or lack thereof), are your employees scared to leave their desks to take a break? Inc. shares a new study on the subject.

You Facebook over-sharers will be happy to know the company has quietly strengthened its privacy settings, according to a Reuters report.

Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is the social media journalist for Associations Now, a former newspaper guy, and a man who is dangerous when armed with a good pun. More »

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