Cause for Concern?

Tuesday, 30 November 2010

jumoNo matter how many social networks try to catch up to Facebook and never do, it doesn’t seem to stop others trying. This week saw Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes launch ‘Jumo’, a new breed of socially aware social network that offers charities a platform to reach people and engage them.

Hughes has amassed himself some pretty good credentials over the recent years, after aiding the creation of Facebook in the now shrine-like Harvard dorm room, he went on to become the social media guru for little known politician Barack Obama, both projects went quite well.

Jumo (which means ‘come together’ in an African language) is a non-profit organisation, which gives each charity a news feed to keep followers up to date with news and their actions. Jumo allows users to search for organisations from a range of categories, donate quickly and easily, and see which charity your friends are involved with. Funding for the project came from Omidyar Network, the John S and James L Knight Foundation and the Ford Foundation, as well a number of unnamed personal investors. Zukerberg perhaps? Maybe not.

On paper (or on screen as the case may be) Jumo sounds like a wonderful idea, anything that can make donating and becoming more involved with charities easier must be a good thing. The hope for Jumo was that people will stay connected to their favourite charities all year round as opposed to just holidays or in the face of a disaster.

Unfortunately only time will tell if Jumo becomes a fixture in every do-gooders life, but if Hughes apparent Midas touch is anything to go by he should be on to another winner.

  • Keith

    I think the idea itself is good, to be honest however I hadn’t heard of Jumo before your mention here, but this is the sort of thing which really engages with me. Looking at the small things raise questions as to how strong it’ll be. Things like; needing a facebook account to sign up and the fact that when I got in and signed up to one or two organisations I realised it basically acts like a giant aggregator for social causes, not much at first seemed apparent to translate into direct actions..

    I’m all for doing good, but this idea seems to be making a website for social causes which has a functionality which already seems to be taken on by artifacts like facebook ‘pages’. Pages allowing people to seek out a much wider scope for charities and engage with them on their terms, Jumo seems to do the same thing but is self contained and isolated, most of Jumo’s links by organisations seems to be external links too and little room for actual dialogue or exchange between non-profits and supporters the kind of which you can see on facebook or twitter.

    I also think the idea of a ‘social network for good’ almost boxes the idea of doing good and social justice into something seperate from the rest of your social identity… almost like the areas of ‘religion’ or ‘politics’. Despite Hughes impressive track record I’m actually going to hedge my bets that in its current form I cannot see much longevity or scope for success against potential competition. Twitter I think really in this instance will actually get one over on it. Sorry for the essay!