When Chris Hughes helped to send Facebook into the world from his dorm room, he shaped the face of social media forever. Now, with his Nov. 30 launch of Jumo, Hughes aims to do the same for social reform. Jumo aspires to connect users to social activism by easily allowing them to follow and support their favorite causes through an integrated platform. As the Los Angeles Times reports, Hughes hopes to help people deepen their commitment to social change.
Hughes, who at age 27 sits in the heart of Generation Y, is also known for managing President Obama’s social media bombardment during his campaign. Jumo takes political action to the next level. The nonprofit site contains a huge online database for nonprofits and social organizations. The Huffington Post points out that, at launch, issues such as poverty, gay rights, environment and education are represented by 3,500 groups located in every major geographic part of the world. Users are also permitted to add projects to the site, as long as they are relevant to environmental or social issues.
Members can use the site to donate to their favorite causes, but Hughes cautions against looking at Jumo as a simple money-changer. A request for a donation does not happen until after the user has given some time and effort to the cause. As Hughes told The Huffington Post, “Most every site that's out there focuses on donations. And, don't get me wrong, donating to organizations, especially right now, is really important. But Jumo is taking a very different approach. It's not just about how much money are you donating to this or that group. It's about what kind of relationship you are building with that organization."
Nonetheless, experts say Hughes will be able to help nonprofits, fiscally or otherwise, as never before. Hughes has invested a portion of his own money into the site, but he has also raised around $3.5 million in grants from individuals and foundations such as the Omidyar Network, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, and the Ford Foundation.
Hughes — who was called “the Empath” during his days at Facebook for his ability to create user-friendly features — soft-launched Jumo in March. Not surprisingly, Jumo resembles a kind of Facebook for good. With a staff of eight and growing, Hughes told CNN via Mashable that "Our real mission is to make it as easy as possible for people to be able to find these organizations and then connect with them in a substantive way."
You sign up through Facebook Connect, which enables Jumo to access your basic information, Facebook wall and data — notably even when you are not using the application. Once logged in, you choose the “Issues” and “Projects” you are interested in. Once signed in, the site is similar to Facebook in that you get status updates and that you can access your friends' pages to see their interests.
Will Jumo change the face of social activism the way Facebook changed the face of social media? Some point out that Jumo could share the privacy headache that has haunted Facebook, but the public as yet seems unconcerned. As the LA Times points out, at press time, about 65,000 people had signed up with 20,000 connected through Twitter and Facebook.
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