Facebook Catalyst for Bridging Political Interests

6 Feb

We all have opinions about the big issues and most of us don’t mind sharing them. How would you like to have your thoughts on important political topics posted on a billboard in New York’s Times Square? You just may have your chance!

In a New York Times article a new Facebook application was highlighted called 2012 Matters: What Matters most. According to reporter Tanzina Vega, “Starting this week, Facebook users will see poll questions in their newsfeeds asking them which of two issues matters more — say, the economy or the environment. When a user answers the question, the result will show up on that user’s personal news feed and on friends’ newsfeeds. The friends also will be prompted to take the poll… Data showing which issue is most important to users in each state will be posted across the street on the Nasdaq digital billboard.”

The motivation behind this idea was brilliant: the purpose was to create interest and start discussions with people who are not engaged in politics with those who are. Combine this with executive vice president and chief technology officer at R/GA John Mayo-Smith’s idea that “we’re at the intersection of social media and branded event advertising” and you’ve got an impressive link between social awareness and marketing strategies. Furthermore, “Facts don’t spread. Emotions do spread,” said Paul Adams, a brand experience manager at Facebook, in a presentation before the group. “We need to think about what an interaction looks like in that environment,” he said, referring to Times Square.

This is a perfect instance where non-profits can follow the example of the for-profit world. This strategy could get people involved in national and global issues and emotionally invested. Getting people to stop and think about a cause and then getting them to engage with others is the first main hurdle that any non-profit tries to scale. Add to the mix the millions of people on Facebook, and this could spread like wild fire.

Fundraising via social media is by far the most effective and efficient way to further a cause, and this is one extreme example of how to reach millions of people to take notice. While probably less than 99% of charities have the resources to rent space on a Times Square billboard, most can invest a little time and effort into connecting with their supporters online.

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