MySpace vs Facebook vs Change.org

17 Jun

Today, while interviewing Heather Mansfield, I had an interesting realization.  The realization was actually hers, but it was interesting nonetheless, and it shed light on how much of a bubble we (in the twitterverse)actually live in.  Mansfield brought up the point that Facebook is classist and racist, in a sense. These were not her exact words, by any stretch, but she does bring up a good point that most of Facebook users are white, educated and many of the people who are writing about them (like say the dudes at Mashable or ReadWriteWeb) are white, straight and educated. Not that I have anything against this demographic, but it does surface a point. We are told that MySpace is a joke, and anyone who goes there is a total loser, but actually, there are many nonprofit orgs who still have active presences on MySpace. Regardless of what is happening there, in terms of their recent lay-offs, completely denigrating this population is arrogant and insulting. Many small nonprofits, many of whom serve underprivileged populations, are spending time on MySpace. Many organizations that are staffed by people of color have a presence on MySpace. This is because the demographic of their population and the people running the MySpace page uses MySpace.

Mansfield gave an example of Camp Soaring Eagle. They are a nonprofit that provides an outdoor camp for children with serious illnesses. She set them up with a MySpace account and a Change.org profile. They were a small small nonprofit with little recognition, but as a result of these actions that took about 2 hours of work to create, they received 45 new email addys, 100 new supporters, and $160 donated, all in one day, and helped by one tweet by Mansfield.

With an online social network that was set up for nonprofits, the results are even greater. This is because people can look up their favorite nonprofit or cause and locate a nonprofit. Every nonprofit is in Change.org, because they work in the Guidestar database, in order to accept donations.

Facebook and MySpace don’t need to be at odds. Rather, Nonprofits should be focusing on setting up a presence in an online social network that has more clearly defined vertical groupings, (i.e. animals, environmental groups, LGBT, Human Rights, Domestic Violence), like Change.org, and not spend so much time trying to cobble together a loosely defined and distributed presence on Facebook. Ultimately, and ideally, a nonprofit would be able to manage a deck of six online social networking presences: YouTube, MySpace, Facebook, Change.org, Twitter, and Flickr. They should try to cross-pollinate these presences and mention their other profiles on each site.

If they don’t have time for this, they should employ an intern to do it for them.  More on the intern thing soon.

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