Between my gig with the ACLU’s “Keep Our Care” iniative and my volunteer work with H*yas for Choice I’m spending a lot of time trying to make Facebook work for good. Honestly, I probably spend 4-5 hours each week on Facebook just doing stuff for these organizations… which I sometimes find a little sad, but actually seems like it isn’t so bad.
Anyway, I’m starting to try and figure out ways to make the “Events” feature as effective as possible. Last weekend I organized a HFC phone bank for the SD Campaign for Health Families. We were able to do this remote phone banking (that is talked about a lot in that IPDI report I wrote about yesterday) really easily, but only about 5 people showed up of about 14 who RSVP’d (of course, GU was in the midst of a pretty serious Norovirus outbreak)… Now, on one hand this isn’t such a bad turn out for our organization. I was a little bummed that all five of us are the super-dedicated board members and that none of our general membership came. Of course, we still made a lot of phone calls and left a lot of messages… but still… 5 people?
Although I invited poeple in my contacts that I know are sympathetic to the cause, I feel like just telling them we’re doing this isn’t quite enough… I’m starting to wonder if you just tell on a social network people wont feel obligated to join you to actually help. Almost as if, we’re “taking care of it” so they wont have to worry.
I’ve been trying to model my communications for H*yas for Choice on Planned Parenthood‘s. In part, this is because we share similar missions, but I also think that Planned Parenthood runs an incredibly effective Facebook/social networking operation. They send updates about once a week and, in each e-mail, offer up a variety of ways to get involved– sometimes as easy as “update your status to ‘I stand with Planned Parenthood: Sarah Palin is not my candidate,'” to “use our logo as your profile picture,” to asking for as much as helping at a canvas shift, making a donation, etc.
I remember reading somewhere, in a class I took on media effects last year, that if you can get people to do lots of little things you can build that up into bigger and bigger things. I’m starting to think this “chage your status” or “use one of our images as your profile photo” is an incredibly effective way of starting to build little, teeny tiny actions into much bigger actions.
Perhaps if HFC works on creating a hip logo we could start with something like “I stand with H*yas for Choice: Distribute Condoms at Georgetown.” Once people do that, maybe they’ll feel enough involved to show up on a Sat. and make some phone calls?
I sense that there is a lot of potential in the Facebook event application, but so far I’m having a hard time turning those RSVPs into actual phone calls…