My Thoughts on NetSquared

I've been meaning to write a post about this for a few weeks and I thought I'd better get it out before the next meetup, Talk Social and Science, on Monday (16/5/2011). Basically I just want to get my own thoughts in order.

"Net Tuesday or NetSquared Local groups are monthly events that take place in cities around the world. These events serve as a great opportunity to convene local communities to share ideas, learn from each other, and even collaborate on projects for real world impact. These gatherings provide a chance to connect for all those interested in the intersection of social technologies and social change in your local community. Members of local groups represent nonprofit organizations and foundations, government agencies and service providers, designers and developers, innovators and social entrepreneurs."

Social Media to Gain Donations & Exposure

The first two meetups seem to have focused mainly on helping charities and other non profits to gain exposure, to lead to donations, by using social media. While I agree that social media is an excellent way to get your message out there, in the long run you're still going to have the same problem of many different foundations competing for limited amounts of money. In the short run, the early adopters will likely benefit from the extra exposure and reach that social media can deliver and giving them a greater proportion of available funds, but are they really more deserving of this just because they got there first?

To see a long term benefit we need to be able to get more people to donate than normally would, and/or get each donor to give more.

Social Media Instead of Donations

Many people don't have, or want to donate, money to a cause. If we can find ways for people to use social media to help instead of giving money then we might see some more positive benefits. For example, during the Christchurch earthquake aftermath there was a Google spreadsheet of missing persons being maintained by Twitter users.

Social Media to Improve Efficiency

If we can improve efficiency we can see everyone benefiting. Charities will be able to do more 'social good' for each dollar of donations and Government departments will be able to reach, inform and help more people and give a better service. Devin touched on this with his presentation on crisis management (did the slides go up anywhere?) and this meetup's title 'Talk Social and Science' looks promising for further discussion on how social media can be used to increase efficiency.

Some Questions to Summarise

How can social media be used to...

  1. Get more people to donate money than normally would?
  2. Get donors to donate more often and/or larger amounts?
  3. Help the cause, not associated with getting more donations?
  4. Improve efficiency of processes within charities, non profits, government etc. ?
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