Minimizing my online life and maximizing the rest (Part I): Minimizing

Major transitions are often a time of reflection and change for me, and coming back from travelling is usually a time where I set goals and make changes as “real life” resumes.

One of my goals is to cut down on my online life. Here’s what I’m doing.


Cutting down the blogs I keep up on to:

General News
I don’t have a TV and only listen to CBC radio, so RSS news feeds are my main source. I subscribe to feeds from Vancouver Sun, CBC, Globe and Mail, and NY Times. I also get emails from the Economist and Financial Times.

Thought leaders
This doesn’t mean leaders in the “I have a bajillion followers” sense. But instead, people that write about things that I would love to discuss with them in person – usually related to community and/or education. Some of my current favourites:

  • Glenn’s little ugly blog by Glenn Gaetz, who I’ve come to know in person through SFU’s Certificate in Dialogue and Civic Engagement
  • Know Your Own Bone by Colleen Dilenschneider, who I’ve only met online through the Nonprofit Millennials Blogging Alliance
  • Peter Levine (Director of CIRCLE), who writes largely on civic engagement, but I read him through Facebook, as this is where the comments happen on his writing (friend him, he doesn’t have a fan page).

Deep Sector News
Websites that offer important policy and research news regarding topics like civic engagement or the nonprofit sector in Canada. Some of my sources:

  • CIRCLE, which produces research on youth and civic engagement
  • Imagine Canada, which produces research and policy recommendations related to the charitable sector in Canada

Hard Resources
No, I don’t want to know your “Top 3 Ways For Nonprofits to Use Twitter” or “10 ways to enhance your personal brand”. However, if you have recommendations for tried, tested and true technology tools or professional development, I’d like to hear. Some examples include:

  • Civic Footprint, which writes a lot about their innovative Timeraiser events and civic engagement, but is also a huge proponent of cloud computing and efficiency and productivity through technology
  • Wild Apricot Blog, which writes about volunteerism and associations in general, but also a lot about web technologies


Sigh. I’m not sure exactly what I’m going to do about this. I’ve met great people through Twitter, and have been directed to great information. But most of it is shit, and results in a lot of switching costs (time wasted by changing objects of focus too often). Even limiting people I follow to those interested in similar topics leads to a lot of shit. And I’m guilty of producing it too.

I’m kind of a “let’s get down to the good stuff” kind of gal, and I don’t think Twitter is what I’m looking for when it comes to conversing and learning. I’ll probably stick around, but in a much more limited way. I learn more meaningful things about people and their ideas through their blogs.


Sigh to the power of infinity. It’s a personal not a professional tool for the most part, and as so many friends are on it, I think giving it up is impossible. But maybe only check it once a day? Maybe? OK. Twice. Fine, three times.


Delegate. Do. Delete. or Designate = Done. I like a zero inbox at work and at home. I’ll continue this.


I don’t have a TV, but I still watch a lot online. This season I’m trying to stick to Mad Men and How I Met Your Mother.

What about you? Have you tried to minimize your time online?

Introducing a secret Nonprofit Millennial Bloggers Alliance

I’ve only been exploring Twitter and the blogosphere as they related to Millennials and the nonprofit sector for only a few months now – Twitter in March and blogging in June. I’ve learned a LOT in that short time and can’t believe I didn’t start sooner. And I hope I’ve contributed as well. It’s a perfect space to network for my introverted self.

So I was thrilled to be ask to be a part of an alliance of bloggers who flutter around the topics related to Millennials and the nonprofit sector. A big thanks to Allison Jones for getting the ball rolling.

Of Mutual Benefit

I first heard about the idea of a blog alliance through Problogger’s vague exposé on a secret blog alliance. The idea intrigued me, and apparently others were too. The alliance in Darren’s article was a

A small group of bloggers who’ve committed to work together in secret for the mutual benefit of all members of the alliance.

The mutually beneficial activities listed in Darren’s posts include things like commenting on and linking each others blogs, social bookmarking and tweeting, guest posts, and networking. Ideally we benefit by increasing the conversation around nonprofits and the Millennial generation by increasing readership and commenting of our blogs, as well as increasing the pressure to write well!


Well this alliance is not working in secret. Perhaps because we don’t blog for profit (on our personal blogs anyway). Maybe because of the open, sharing nature of those that work in the nonprofit sector. We haven’t really sorted out the fine details, but we’re all excited. I’m also thrilled to bring a Canadian perspective to the alliance.

Introducing the Alliance

A. Lauren Abele A. Lauren Abele (blog)
In New York, there is so much vibrancy, energy, passion, and access to the best the country has to offer. It’s the perfect landscape to work with entrepreneurs, meet people who are changing the world, and develop my passions for philanthropy, social entrepreneurship, and nonprofit management.
Elizabeth Clawson Nonprofit Periscope
Keeping an eye on news of the sector. Read one of Elizabeth’s favourite posts: No money? No problem—three free media relations tools for nonprofits (and others)
Colleen Dilenschneider Know Your Bone
My thing? Creative community engagement in nonprofit organizations.
James Elbaor Notes From the East Coast
His first passion is the not-for-profit sector. He cares deeply about social justice and the importance of community activism.
Kevin Gilnack (Nonprofits + Politics)2.0
Some areas of interest to me include nonprofit management, leadership development, workforce issues, public policy, civic engagement, business partnerships, innovation… for starters.
Trina Isakson (that’s me!) the good life | by Trina Isakson
Good articles on nonprofit capacity, community development, engaged citizenship and education. Life stories about travel, photography, music, and musings. Read one of my favourite posts: Social movements, institutions and the Millennial generation: synthesis or breakdown?
Allison Jones Entry Level Living
The personal and professional insights of a struggling college grad.Read one of Allison’s favourite posts: Are you joining a sector or joining a cause?
Elisa M. Ortiz Onward and Upward
Keeping an eye on the nonprofit sector, from the bottom up. Read one of Elisa’s favourite posts: The new leadership crisis.
Ben Sheldon an internet backwater
Ben Sheldon is an author, thinker, facilitator, automator, mapper, artist, human and more.
Rosetta Thurman Rosetta Thurman (website)
Promoting next generation leadership for social change. Read one of Rosetta’s favourite posts: Why I Work in the Nonprofit Sector.
Tracey Webb Black Gives Back
A blog dedicated to Philanthropy in the Black Community.
Tera Wozniak Qualls Social Citizen
I am a nonprofit professional, social citizen, & community member. I blog to learn, express my interest & expertise in organizational development, expand my career, network, & discuss nonprofit leadership and community engagement.

Trina’s Nonprofit Blog – word cloud by Wordle.

Wordle cloud - Sept 14
Image by

Love playing with this tool at

Based on this image you can quickly determine my favourite topics.

What’s this blog about?

  • nonprofit sector
  • people
  • work
  • organizations
  • volunteers
  • staff
  • ideas
  • programs