Jumo: Day 1. Our First Impressions of the Social Network for Social Causes


Yesterday, Jumo released its beta platform to the world, but the launch was far from seamless.  Founded by Facebook Co-founder Chris Hughes, Jumo bills itself as a “social network for the social sector.” At TechChange, we spent a few hours on the new site and here are some of our first impressions.

Technical glitches galore: For starters, it took us over an hour of refreshing and revisiting Jumo to create a profile and an organization page for TechChange.  The team at Jumo was clearly not prepared for the traffic. Hughes on his Twitter account, about five hours ago. “@jumoconnect users. If you’re seeing something wonkey, just hold tight. Good problem to have.” Jumo staff will hopefully get these issues worked out in the next few days, but if it continues this could be a serious problem. Internet users tend to have little patience for sites that crash easily. As we heard Mark Zuckerberg’s character say in the movie the Social Network “let me tell you the difference between Facebook and everybody else; we don’t crash, ever! If the servers are down for even a day our entire reputation is irreversibly destroyed.”

Once we got the site working here’s what we saw:

Facebook integration: Jumo requires users to have a Facebook account before registering so that it can integrate with Facebook. This saves users time and builds friend lists automatically, but it also might upset some concerned about privacy. You can configure settings to stop your Facebook page from reporting your Jumo activity in the settings tab.

Social Issues: As individuals we were asked to identify issues to follow (education reform, governance and peace, health, etc). The drop down lists for these areas of concern were fairly narrow and prescriptive. For instance, when we clicked on education, we had to choose between afterschool programs, at-risk youth, educational reform and education for girls. Then each of those options has more specific sub-categories. Hopefully more categories will be added with time because we had many issue interests that went beyond the listed categories.

Individual profile page: We really liked the concept of having an entire profile dedicated to what social issues, organizations someone is passionate about and having a platform dedicated to pulling the most relevant issue and organization-related content together in one place. It still needs some work but the potential is there.

Newsfeeds: Once we identified our issues, news stories appeared in a news feed that related to these issues. We could also vote them up or down. We liked this feature of being able to read about issue related news stories although we’re still not sure how these stories were selected or where they’re coming from.  News from the organizations we followed also appeared in the feed along with news about one’s social issues.

Organizational profile page. Once we registered as an individual we decided to try and create a Jumo page for TechChange. We we’re able to create a “new project” and then were able to link it directly to the TechChange Facebook page with a Facebook ID which pulled our Facebook feed into Jumo. We were also asked to identify the issues we are working on which then appear in the newsfeed. There were a few other features like setting links to our blog, Twitter, Youtube, Vimeo accounts, etc. Other than that it’s a little thin at the moment, but the concept of having individuals follow organizations and having a central social network for social issues, individuals, and NGOs has tremendous potential.

TechChange Jumo Profile

TechChange Jumo Profile

Recommendations:

Help Box: Some kind of help feature would be nice. The navigation of this site is not intuitive and there are lots of confusing aspects to it.

Friends: Some way to control friend feed? What if I don’t want to be associated with someone in Jumo but I’d like to keep them as a facebook friend?

Twitter Integration: The only way you can pull a feed from your Twitter account is if your Facebook and Twitter accounts are synced through facebook. Other than that, all you can do is link out to your Twitter account. Seems to us that Twitter has become a far more valuable tool for organizations than Facebook in recent years and without a stronger integration this may spell trouble for Jumo.

There were some neat features but the jury is still out as to how this site will add value to other social networking platforms. There’s no question that the nonprofit industry could use some energy and innovation with platforms like Facebook Causes having certainly slowed down recently. And the concept of creating more meaningful relationships between people, causes, and organizations is a powerful one.  But it’s still a little early to tell if this will indeed be the “game changer” that some news agencies are calling for. We suggest giving it a try, but temper your expectations for the moment.

Anyone else try it out yesterday?

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About Nick Martin

Nick is the co-founder and President of TechChange. As President, he oversees all strategy and programming for the organization. Nick is an educator, technologist, and social entrepreneur with significant international peacebuilding and development expertise. He currently teaches courses at the United Nations University for Peace (UPEACE), and has given a number of guest lectures and speeches on the role of technology in peacebuilding, development and humanitarian work. Nick is the founder of two innovative and award-winning digital media and conflict transformation programs: DCPEACE and PeaceRooms. In 2009, Nick was selected as a Global Fellow by the International Youth Foundation and as a Washington DC Humanities Council Scholar for his leadership in launching the programs and his track record as a young social entrepreneur. Nick is also an advisor to Ashoka, the US Institute of Peace (USIP), and a number of other leading organizations. Nick received his BA with honors from Swarthmore College and an MA in Peace Education from the United Nations mandated University for Peace (UPEACE).
  • Ray Mimms

    Could not agree more. This launch was amateurish at best… I hope the Jumo team has not tarnished the online nonprofit landscape by coming across as incompetent!

  • Nick Martin

    Thanks for your comment Ray. I'm hopeful they'll get their act together and use these first few months to really understand what users want and how to create the energy that's missing from this landscape. Anyone else sign up and have similar experiences?

    Also an update: It looks like the default Jumo setting is to automatically follow friends on facebook but you can choose to unfollow friends by visiting their page and clicking on "unfollow.

  • http://www.geekingoutabout.com Trisha Lynn

    I was so very optimistic when I first heard about this, and the fact that my 40-year old plus, tech-impaired employer is excited about this bodes well. However, the fact that almost every article I've seen about this includes concerns about the Facebook integration and now you're saying that organizations are having trouble signing up… it breaks my heart.

    • http://techchange.org TechChange

      Trisha, Thanks for your comment. I was super excited as well. We'll be writing a follow up post on Jumo next spring so stay tuned and check back. Lets see how they adjust in the next few months and hopefully we'll have some better news to report.

      Cheers,
      Nick

  • Rudy S.

    No different to the likes of Globalgiving or ammado.