This week, Jumo launched their beta social network for causes, issues and organizations. The press was a little hotter when the project first was announced, and there have been 60,000 members in the closed beta. Factoid for the day: Jumo is Yoruban for “together in concert”.
The site is designed to make it easy to follow (think ‘like’) updates from a variety of causes and even join in the conversation. The interface is familiar and integration with Facebook is, to use one of their favorite words, frictionless (no surprise there, given he was a co-founder). The causes (they use the word “issues that you care about”) fall into 7 groups - Arts/Culture, Education, Environment/Animals, Health, Human Rights, Peace/Governance and Poverty - and there are 9 or so orgs in each group already, with surely more to come.
Previous comments from the company clarified that the site is not about donations (although you can click through to the organization’s homepage to give if you’re so inclined), but rather getting people connected who care about specific issues.
But I have to ask: Why would I use this service when I can already get these updates on Facebook itself? Is there another audience out there that is not on Facebook, but would want to use the service for charities and causes? My hunch is that this platform is designed to allow for smaller charities that don’t advertise widely to get eyeballs on their cause without having to pay for Facebook ads. Jumo makes it easy to explore a variety of charities that would probably never get my attention, since this type of exploration is such a basic part of the site (One complaint: hovering over a charity it would be nice to get some overlay information about it - I should be able to know a bit more about it before committing to follow it) The integration with Facebook certainly could help in terms of spreading activity on that site without paying for the traffic upfront.
When Facebook re-launched Groups, I was wondering if they were considering just rebranding part of their platform as a news service, which is kind of the main functionality here. It pulls the latest and greatest to your Home page, and allows you to read summaries, or delve into the original articles at will, with the ever present opportunity to join the conversation and comment. Sharing without commenting doesn’t seem to be present, but this is beta, so things could change rapidly.
If you’ve got an organization that needs to connect with people, this could be another platform for you, but the question remains: What’s the value?