First Reflections on Jumo

Amy Sample Ward
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This is cross-posted from my blog at AmySampleWard.org.

As you may have heard, Jumo is now open in beta. What is Jumo? As Mashable reports, “Jumo was designed to let users find, follow and support the causes important to them, and with 3,500 organizations on board at launch, would-be philanthropists should be able to find and follow something of interest upon joining. (For comparison’s sake — Apple’s Ping had 2,000 artists two months out of the gate.)” I’ve been playing around with the new social platform this morning and wanted to share some of my early reactions. (So have others – here’s a blog post from Beth Kanter and Steve McLaughlin on Jumo.)

Functionality

Persistence

So far, trying to navigate the site to browse or set up a profile has about a 50/50 chance of hitting either a 504 or 500 error page. It’s been quite a frustrating process, especially when inputting 33 different countries one by one in the “where we work” section just to have the “save” not work. Complaining about the errors on Twitter along with @Kanter, @pgjones00 was Mark Mann:

It is in beta, let’s not forget! So, patience and persistence are the keys to success. I’m always the first to admit I’m not patient, but I persistence this morning has gotten me pretty deep into the site – so keep refreshing your browser and you’ll get through!

Facebook Requirements

It seems that you have to have an organizational presence on facebook in order for the project page on Jumo to work/look right – I put in my facebook ID, thinking it was verifying my association as the admin on the organizational account, but instead it put my photo and info as the organization’s! I’m not sure that organizations will want to maintain, or create, a profile on facebook just as a ticket to using Jumo. Is this experience correct – have others found this to be true?

Transparency

Here’s the screen shot for the TechSoup Global page on Jumo. I am following the organization and am an administrator on the page – doesn’t appear to show either of those facts!

I’m also not finding any way to customize the URL so that users could more easily find, and I could more easily share/promote the page.

Messaging

I’ve had quite a string of issues with the messaging in Jumo. Here are some of the posts I’ve shared this morning with members of a social media for nonprofits group in facebook:

  • when I try posting on people’s pages, it doesn’t appear to go through, but then they say they get 4 emails telling them about it (this is what one contact reported after I posted on his wall); when I tried posting an update on my own page it went through twice! Just checked back and Jumo deleted the second/double post but the diction is very strange! “Amy Sample Ward wrote on her/her profile:”
  • I just posted on Beth’s wall on jumo and left the “post to facebook” box checked to see if it would post on her or my facebook wall as well, but it doesn’t seem to have done so.
  • Also interesting, that it let me post on Beth’s wall (if the Jumo terms use “wall”) even though we weren’t following each other. Could mean that users don’t have a way to manage the amount of posts (read: spam) that could get through to them…
  • I got an error that said only letters, spaces and punctuation were allowed… no numbers?!

Avi Kaplan shared some feedback on my facebook wall this morning, as well:

I really agree with Avi – there doesn’t seem to be a way to comment on someone’s post to reply, or to reply to the news items. Isn’t that the point? Not just to broadcast, but to have a conversation, share ideas, and provide context.

Building a Network

As Debra Askanse posted in a facebook group discussing Jumo this morning, how do follow people, and not just organizations?

The reason a site for finding and following causes you care about has social features is because it isn’t just the organizations we care about that we like to follow, but also the people we care about. If a friend or family member donates to an organization, starts or shepherds a campaign, or shares an appeal for support, data has shown that we are more likely to listen and even take action – we trust our friends and family and listen to what they say more than just ads or mass-messages. So, finding and following the people we want to listen to should certainly be easier in Jumo!

Donations

As Marie Deatherage pointed out, “Did you see that 15% of donation goes to jumo, about 5% to network4good? That’s the default.” As an administrator on an organization’s page, I find it interesting that it doesn’t share these details with you during the set up process. You would need to seek out the details to find out what the donation details are even though the option for people to donate through the profile is there immediately!

Purpose

As Tom Watson posted in a facebook group this morning, what’s the point?

Jumo vs Change.org – is that the question?

Change.org describes itself as:

Change.org is the world’s fastest growing social action platform, empowering people to make a difference across a variety of important causes. Our team of writers and editors provides daily coverage of breaking social action campaigns, connecting people to opportunities to get involved. We also provide free tools that allow anyone to run their own campaigns. Our tools are used by thousands of grassroots activists and organizations around the globe. We count many of the world’s leading nonprofits as partners, including Amnesty International, Sierra Club, Human Rights Campaign, and the United Nations Foundation.

So, does the nuance between the two platforms come down to “action” or something else? Organizations that I am or could follow are on both platforms, so what is the deciding factor influencing their strategy for engagement on the platform and the deciding factor for which platform I use to connect with them?

Beyond a Platform

Beyond this platform or that one, why do you, as an individual who is passionate about a cause, want to connect directly with a nonprofit organization online? Is it to take action – online? or off?  Is it to know what they are doing and how they use the funds you may have given them? Is it to see if they are worth your donations or volunteer hours? How does your purpose for engagement influence your choice of platform?

I’m really interested to hear what you all think! What are your experiences, thoughts, reactions or conjectures? What are you most curious about or hopeful for?