Jumo Mixes Social Activism and Facebook for a Global Crowd
Hughes announced the project back in March, when he told the LA Times that he had decided to develop the network after spending a year traveling in Asia, Africa 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 explained. "Instead, you have to support all the individuals and organizations working on the ground doing good, valuable work."
Jumo means "together in concert" in Yoruba, a West African language, and that pretty much captures the spirit of the new social network. After logging into the site with their Facebook accounts, users are prompted to fill out a survey, which helps determine their specific interests. The site will then direct them to pages of nonprofit organizations that work in areas related to their social interests. The Jumo homepage, meanwhile, provides users with regular updates from all of the organizations, including recent tweets, YouTube videos, news articles, and comments from their Facebook friends.
Thus far, the site lists about 3,500 organizations, but Hughes says any group "with a mission" can create their own Jumo page. Only those with tax-exempt status, however, will be able to solicit donations from the community. According to Hughes, donations should only be solicited after organizations have established strong ties with Jumo users. "We are not trying to build another donation platform. We are really focused on building a social network where you can find compelling projects and issues and connect with them in a way that will be lasting," Hughes said. "I don't believe you can start with a donate page and expect people to whip out their credit cards and click donate. It takes time for people to get to know a cause or an organization."
There are concerns, of course, about how users will react to publicizing their personal beliefs and donations. Hughes, however, seems confident that Jumo can drastically alter the landscape of social activism, and fill a digital niche that has yet to be fully excavated. "I fundamentally believe that people have a genuine desire to be positively engaged in the world around them," he said. "I don't think the online world has yet caught up with that desire."