Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Viral Causes

Here in Minnesota there are instances where you can be fully reimbursed for donations made to political candidates. While mulling the prospects of sending friendspam encouraging support for candidates and reminding friends a contribution would cost them nothing, the thought of marrying social causes and social software crossed my mind. Maybe it's already been done, but I haven't seen anything like what I have in mind. Here are a few thoughts on the subject.

One objective of such a system would be to increase involvement in causes by making the effect of individual action evident. It's very disconcerting when you feel you're not making a difference, but it's very energizing when you do feel you're making a difference. The right visualization could show people they are making a difference and encourage them to make an even bigger difference. I'd like to see a visualization showing my effect on first degree contacts, second degree contacts, etc. Show me I made a difference!

In the case of fundraising, totals collected could be shown. Contests could be managed as well. It might work similar to Evite, except the focus would be around causes and fundraising rather than events. A truly successful site might wind up becoming the portal of choice for charitable contributions.



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