A couple of good articles about how nonprofits are using myspace and some dos and don'ts this week. Much of the advice is transferable to other social networking spaces. (I have a myspace site but I haven't done any deep experimination. I set it up so I could help some friends with teens who are it and hopefully by the time my kids are teens there will be a different technology use pattern to master ...)
MySpace and Political Campaigns
Joshua Levy at the Personal Democracy Forum wrote about the use of MySpace for political campaigns and by advocacy organizations. He interviewed Scott Goodstein, who has worked on the Save the Internet, Save1800Suicide and Military Free Zone campaigns, and Ivan Boothe of the Genocide Intervention Network.
Ivan wrote a more indepth piece about organization's approach and shared his thoughts on the potential for "bottom-up" organizing using social networking is available on his blog. He also summarized the key points to Joshua's post recently and I'm reblogging them here.
Joshua offers four rules:
1. Reach Out to People Where They Congregate
"Using MySpace for politics doesn't only involve developing profiles and campaigns, but discovering those political uses where they already exist."
2. MySpace Isn't Local (Except When It Is)
"Friendships on MySpace aren't based across geographical lines. You are friends with people all over the country."
3. Let People Take Ownership
"Messages are more effective if you let people develop the stories themselves, in their own words, using their own experiences."
4. Fundraise Elsewhere
"The primary goals of a MySpace page are to make friends, generate awareness, and take action -- not necessarily to make money."
MySpace and Awareness Raising Campaigns
Three Nonprofits Share Their Experience
The three nonprofits interviewed include Defenders of Wildlife, Oxfam America, and The Humane Society. The advice is somewhat different from what is describe in the other article. These are more tips on sending out your message, not necessarily generating it up from bottom up.
1. On your MySpace page, ask friends to take specific actions such as "link to our Web site," "subscribe to our e-newsletter," "tell a friend about our current campaign," "contact us to learn about," and so on.
2. Write blog entries and circulate your entries via your "bulletin board." Invite friends to post comments to your blog; visit your friends' pages and leave relevant and valuable comments; host events;
and continue to add friends.
3. Add videos to your MySpace pages. Images and videos have a way of motivating people to take action.
4. Update your MySpace page frequently and customize it to resemble your organization's look and feel. Be careful not to make your page appear too stuffy.
5. Don't make the mistake of staying within your own circle of like-minded organizations. When you add friends, consider reaching out to folks outside of your circle. In particular, nonprofits could reach
out (via MySpace) to for-profit companies with strong social responsibility programs that can help spread the word about their causes.
6. Add your MySpace URL to your email signature line, business card, and letterhead in order to encourage people to visit your MySpace page.
7. Write articles about how your organization is using MySpace to advance its causes and submit them to both online and print publications. Or publish them on your Web site and ask bloggers to link