My thoughts on Jumo

Jumo launched recently, and there has been a lot of apparent negative commentary and comment on the new site that is designed to connect individuals and organisations working to change the world. I wanted to put a quick post up to outline a few of the services strong points, and why we should perhaps delay our judgement and see what happens to the service.

Let’s not forget that Chris Hughes is behind Jumo. He is on the UNAIDs commission (which is a joint committee of 17 people from around the planet who discuss how to make HIV prevention programs more effective. He also ran the Obama Campaign social networking/grassroots initiatives.

Those who say Jumo doesn’t understand how NGO’s work, are perhaps coming from an egoic standpoint where it doesn’t work for NGO’s the way they perceive them to work. There are millions of NGO’s out there and within that sample there will be large variation between the different groups of people running them. Many people questioned Kiva too, once upon a time.

One of the other points of question, which I myself have raised, is about the integration with Facebook. It seems like the site is a facebook clone, in many ways. It’s easy to ask the question (as I have earlier today) why this is so different from Facebook causes…or just Facebook in general. Until, you consider that Hughs was also involved in founding Facebook with Mark Zuckerber…so he knows how easy it is to connect to that and probably has a good idea about where the Facebook ecosystem is heading.

Finally, of the few things I’ve read today about Jumo, it seems like there are people signing up and organisations that are filling out their profile (even though, from all reports, that incredibly painful to do at the moment). The best proof is in the metrics.

The internet is a big place and continues to be fragmenting; there are more and more social networks popping up everyday. Even though Facebook is the strongest, we can’t forget that services like Ning, Tumblr and Twitter that are still flourishing. Tumblr, still, is one of the most visited services on the internet.

I agree, and still think, that Jumo hasn’t totally identified it’s value proposition for it’s users, except that it’s in a space lot’s of people care about. I think the close integration with Facebook has meant they have a few features which are duplicates (like messages, wall posts etc etc) but on the whole, there is something there that is going to help more people connect with others working towards making a difference in their chosen fields. And that is something that’s worth experimenting with. Let’s see how the sit evolves.

16 thoughts on “My thoughts on Jumo”

  1. // cross-posting my letter.ly note on this

    Yeah Facebook will never take off either. Zucks doesn’t understand what friendship means to people. Nobody will ever want to list their friends in a ‘social graph’. 

    I try to never judge something new based on the comments of people too deep in the existing industry – they just can’t see big change coming. 

    Chris Hughes started Facebook. Then he helped Obama become president using social media, and now he is trying to push charitable giving beyond something that happens just during holidays and disasters to a continual part of life. 

    You ‘follow’ organizations now, and I have no doubt soon there will be dollars attached to that. Not once off kickstarter style dollars, but “I have $100/mo to give and these are the guys that get it”. 

  2. The big change is already here. I mean, Obama’s election where the online part was so fundamental in terms of fundraising as well as organisational, is just the bleeding edge. It’s coming to the outer rims of the first world, as connectivity starts to become more pervasive.

    Jumo, when it evolves (and it will, there’s no doubt), is the beginning of trying to create social networks which are beyond just the “leisure” (twitter and facebook) ones, (and, please understand that the quotes are intentional, it’s just a figure of speech), social networks that are there not just to transform how we relate and communicate with each other but how we see the world and how we support the millions of people out there trying to fix it.

    Ross is right on “they just can’t see big change coming” however I’d venture to say that it’s already here :) It’s 2010 after all!

  3. I agree with you that jumo needs to find their value prop, because as it stands right now, it’s pretty weak. They need to address a lot of practical issues like their donation pricing structure and how they deal with fragmentation before they go on doing anything revolutionary.

    And it’s true that sometimes those that are too deep in the industry don’t know when change is coming, but there’s a difference between industry outsiders commenting and those ACTUALLY USING your site. If a lot of the negativity is coming from organizations then that is a bad sign and jumo needs to address and adapt to that. You cant’ be game-changing if the people you want to help don’t even want to play.

    I don’t know if it’s just the vocal minority right now but it’s off too a rocky start. In any case, they have a big pot o cash to go through and I’m sure this is not the end product, only the beginning.

    My $.02

  4. I agree that we should hold judgement. Realistically, this is a recruitment phase: those who care about causes, let’s have a crack at this… let’s openly discuss what might work to address this. Deploy the product then develop as we go according to user feedback. Isn’t that what we’re all being told to do these days? Start lean and innovate as we go?

    Meh, it could flop, but I’ve got my optimistic hat on. Nothing ventured, nothing gained, right?

  5. Thanks for the comments guys :)

    @Jefferson C – it’s true that they need to find that value proposition…I just think this is actually the way they’re doing that. Facebook didn’t use to have the news feed in the earlier versions but now you would actually say that’s the key value Facebook provides; providing a constant stream of what your friends are up to. It’ll be interesting to see what people continue to think, and what they begin to value most about the system.

  6. Also remember the rebellion that happened when Facebook added that news feed! “The Market” hated it and were closing their accounts in protest.

    They only just launched today. I see it as a really polished first draft, far from delivering their complete vision. They’ll figure it out, and they don’t need to do that _today_.

  7. Was talking with Nick Allardice on the weekend about how much I was looking forward to the release of Jumo – and here it is. Underwhelmed and disappointed.

    Yes it is early days, but there’s nothing remotely new or exciting that Jumo seems to offer over similar sites, i.e.:

    http://www.wiserearth.org/

    http://www.change.org/

    http://www.causecast.org/

    http://my.socialactions.com/

    http://www.idealist.org/

    http://www.care2.com/

    or even facebook with pages, groups and causes.

    Chris Hughes said:
    “The last thing I want to do is add yet another site to a nonprofit’s plate. I don’t want them to have to go to yet another destination to share who they are and the work that they’re doing.”

    …but so far that’s how it looks. Like charities, well meaning people start up an organisation to take action on an issue that’s important to them. The ‘market’ just gets more crowded making not-for-profits have to compete with each other for funds and resources rather than do their work.

    Collaborate people! Create open platforms that enable people to take individual and collective action with real impact. Facilitate organisations to do the work they’re there to do not create more.

    As @engagejoe tweeted this morning: “You can’t create new game-changing start-ups for social change anymore. You have to co-create them. #jumo #4change”

    I also don’t know who ‘they are: “they just can’t see big change coming.”

    There are plenty of not-for-profit/social change/activist thought leaders that know big change is coming – IMO, I don’t think Jumo is it.

    Both of these posts have some great points and quite engaging discussions in the comments:

    http://amysampleward.org/2010/11/30/first-reflections-on-jumo/

    http://www.bethkanter.org/jumo-2/

    Well and truly my two cents worth…

  8. Thanks for the comment David, some interesting thoughts.

    “There are plenty of not-for-profit/social change/activist thought leaders that know big change is coming – IMO, I don’t think Jumo is it.”

    This may yet be the case. Jumo may yet proove to be a failure. The key contention is that by definition people can’t have possibly seen these big changes – because if they had then we would already have seen those results. Nassim Taleb, of The Black Swan fame, has this to say.

    “There is actually a law in statistics called the law of iterated expectations, which I outline here in strong form: if I expect to expect something at some date in the future, then I already expect that something at present.

    …Now, if you can prophesy the invention of the wheel, you already know what a wheel looks like, and thus you already know how to build a wheel, so you are already on your way.”

    This is essentially what (I believe) Ross means with his observation. If we have truly seen the future, then we would already be acting this way. It is 2010 – this future
    is already here. The truth is, we don’t know (and can’t know) what massive changes the future holds. Jumo could be it. It may not be. But we won’t know for a little bit of time.

  9. “The key contention is that by definition people can’t have possibly seen these big changes”

    But by definition doesn’t change look different – different to what we already have?

    What new utility does Jumo offer?

    Does it provide me with more or better information than any of the other platforms? Does it provide me with a new or better way of doing what I’d like to do (or help me discover what that is)? Does it allow me to access or share anything that I can’t already – whether or not I see the value in it now?

    Without going on too much longer, I’d be curious for others to draw comparisons to twitter clients or browsers as an analogy – cos I’m sure loving RockMelt. ;)

    @rosshill?

  10. Great discussion Steve…thankyou. I hear you David on nfp overload. It seems eternal. However, I think Sarah says it nicely – it’s up to us in the sector to make it something worthwhile, collaboratively, or ignore it. If we approach it as a work in progress (@rosshill ‘first draft’) then like all good things social and 21stC which are open to user feedback, it will evolve and become an excellent tool for the market. Or not.

  11. I agree with what’s been said, pretty much – especially @SarahMoran’s point. Sure, don’t reinvent the wheel, but I think there is a positive in reinventing the wheel – the only way we can improve is when there’s competition, and I think Jumo is really smart in integrating Facebook. Also, even if it doesn’t take off as a social network, at least I think it might bring awareness to a few organisations that hasn’t been too popular.

    I’m with @SarahMoran with my optimism cap on. :)

  12. It is still clearly in beta, with the usual tech glitches and 500 errors, which will smooth out as more people play with it and give them feedback. As the platform matures, we’ll get a better sense of the power and potential of this network that lets people find, connect, and support social change organizations and issues.

    My two cents is that the jury is still out on success or not. I think some of the criticisms from Amy Sample Ward and Tom Watson – other nonprofit folks are valid points for improvement of the platform.

    Anyway, terrific post and going to add a link to my roundup.

    http://www.bethkanter.org/jumo-2/

  13. Great conversation here – thank you all for the comments.

    Jumo for me is sitting, watching, waiting, listening, poking around… seeing what will come of it.

    In the short play I’ve had, Jumo wouldn’t allow me to “Follow” an org and I found that there were a few duplicate orgs as well. Let’s hope they sort a few of those things out as the iron the creases!

    The Facebook integration is neat – but as Steve said – this poses questions around uniqueness and point of difference.

    As per usual, the donation feature is set-up primarily for US charities; I guess we’ll wait in line to make our millions there too.

    The long term question for me is whether this will simply replicate the existing groups we in Non-Profits already see:
    1/ Those who care about stuff & who engage online
    2/ Those who care about stuff & who don’t engage online
    3/ Those who don’t care about stuff. Full stop.

    We’re already working our butts off to attract/engage/love Groups 1 & 2, will we ever get Groups 3? Maybe.
    Will Group 3 be ‘Turned On’ by Jumo…
    … I think it’s To Be Confirmed

  14. Great comment @nigepresto!

    I didn’t realise the payment gateway was only set up for US charities. It will be interesting to see how that all pans out. Are they using Amazon as the backend there?

    I think that’s the clearest way anyone has ever put the problem may charities face. You’re right that we are always chasing the type 3 person!

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