Non-profit social networks are gaining prominence online. The genre of sites known as "The Good Web" are championed by people like Corey Szopinksi and Jane McGonigal who have furthered a good number of causes using social media as their conduit. Entering this arena is Chris Hughes, a wunderkind of sorts, unknown to the general public, but widely known in social networking circles and the Democratic National Party.
In March, 2009, I wrote about 'King Maker' Chris Hughes who was largely responsible for Chris Hughesputting Barack Obama in office. In an article titled, "King Maker & Social Networking Made Obama A Rock Star," I described how one of the original co-founders of Facebook left the Zuckerberg team in the Silicon Valley to head up a largely successful social media campaign for the country's first Afro-American president. Hughes was notably responsible for creating the Obama campaign website, My.BarackObama.com, and incorporating a comprehensive social media plan into the campaign.
Post election, Hughes, all of 26 years-old joined General Catalyst Partners, a venture capital firm only to leave one year later to entertain a start-up in the world of non-profits. His new enterprise called Jumo (which in the West African language of Yoruba means "together in concert") matches do-gooders with worthy causes. In a recent Fast Company report, Chris describes his new responsibilities as one that "will be matching people based on their skills and interests with organizations around the world that need their input."
Similar to the ways that social media prompts people to engage online, Chris feels that there is a whole world out there that would like people to use their talents and expertise to help others in meaningful ways. According to him, this goes beyond "a click on a banner ad to give $10 to a needy child."
In a recent interview, Hughes said he arrived at the decision to form a nonprofit that would tap the power of the Internet to connect people and causes after a year of traveling in Africa, Asia and Latin America.
“You learn pretty fast that there is no magic solution to poverty. There are not even a single set of solutions or strategies that are going to be the answer to all of these challenges,” he said. “Instead you have to support all the individuals and organizations working on the ground doing good, valuable work.”
Facebook App "Causes"There have been other attempts to bring social issues into the world of social networking. Among them is Causes, a Facebook application that is popular among non-profits. Corey Szopinski and his company Core Industries are designing conferences and collaborative measures for non-profits to learn from each other. Jane McGonigal has developed Evoke, a virtual game that immerses users into an online milieu to act on worthy causes. To that mix, we can now add Chris Hughes' Jumo.com and its goals to expand on the new genre of sites appropriately named 'The Good Web.' And if Hughes’ past success is any indicator of future results, expect virtual lines to start queuing up in advance of the site’s launch, scheduled sometime this fall.