Saturday, November 7, 2009

Causes (fund raising app) Abandons MySpace

Beth Kanter, in her excellent blog devoted to How Nonprofits can Use Social Media, reports on 11/6/09 that

"Amy Sample Ward reported that Causes notified 184,725 users that its MySpace app will be removed from MySpace as of today. The email encouraged MySpace users of Causes to join the cause on Facebook.

"One wonders what the motivation was? Amy's post spoke about the implications for individuals and communities, raising the question - "In abandoning MySpace, is Causes abandoning nonprofit groups organizing online with poorer users and people of color?" Justin Mass went as far as to say that the move was "social network redlining."

In class we discussed research by danah boyd showing that the users of MySpace and of Facebook were quite different - with Facebook users being a more college oriented group (who looked down on MySpace users). MySpace users tended to be more low-income and liked MySpace because that's where there friends were and because MySpace enabled people to customize their templates more in terms of color and layout.

Hence if Causes abandons MySpace, it likely makes it more difficult for nonprofits to do fundraising among working class people. Beth Kantor goes on to note that the Causes application can be criticized for failing to really involve people and so its loss might not be so dreadful - perhaps nonprofits should develop their own ways of more effectively interacting with users of MySpace.

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