MySpace and Facebook Networking: Just for Fun?
I was sucked into MySpace more than a year ago, and Facebook more recently, by friends and family who wanted to share their wonders with me, or more realistically just boost their friend count. I've spent many an hour "wasting" time writing comments, renewing friendships, playing games, attacking vampires and sending "gifts" (among other things) on these two networking sites. Yet these websites, now frequented by millions of other users, can be a great marketing tool for a nonprofit.
When the idea of creating a MySpace page for Seacology came up, I was very interested in designing it myself. If you know the tricks (supported by dozens of MySpace design sites across the web) you can create a MySpace page that is as attractive as any website you might find while surfing.
Some of the more useful sites I've found include the following:
After launching the page back in June 2006, and thanks to the work of fellow MySpacer Emily Silverstein, we now have almost 12,000 friends. MySpace has allowed Seacology to share its news and progress with an entirely different demographic than the one that peruses our webpage.
Facebook is currently a less known and less used networking site and its layout is not nearly as customizable, but for a nonprofit, is perhaps a more useful tool. Each "Cause" page is linked to Justgive.org, a site where donors can give directly to an organization - a very easy way for interested parties to donate. Facebook also has a very convenient way to post media (great for linking to relevant articles), a characteristic that MySpace is missing. One of the more fun aspects of Seacology's Facebook page is the "Hall of Fame," a section where people who have recruited others or donated to the cause are ranked - a competitive way to boost members and donations. One of Facebook's biggest drawbacks, however, is the inability to preview an announcement before it goes live.
Although Facebook and MySpace are predominantly thought of as vehicles for teen socializing, as an almost 30-something, I use both on a regular basis, as do many of my comparatively-aged friends and relatives. Because of the widespread use of both as well as their consistently aging and renewable user base, I think that these, as well as other online social networking sites, will only become more useful in spreading the word and generating buzz about great organizations like Seacology.