One Key to a Successful Nonprofit Social Media Strategy
In the webinar I hosted earlier this week I was asked: “Why have a blog if we already have Facebook? With limited staff resources and ability to actually spend time writing one of these, can’t I just have discussions on Facebook and generate excitement that way?”
Well, sure. You can spend your time creating great content and then just share it on one platform. But why would you do that once you’d taken the time to create that great content? It costs pennies on the dollars – and minutes in the hour – to share that content in other forums. And I happen to think blogs beat Facebook, and all other social media, as a forum for truly making friends and influencing people. Here’s why:
Let me start by pointing you to an infographic, Facebook or Blog: Top 10 Reasons Business Blogging is Better Than Facebook, that lays out a host of logical reasons why blogging beats Facebook. Now let me tell you why I really think blogs are the magic bullet to constituent engagement, aka bonding.
Recent research shows that for all the interconnectivity we have online, we’ve never been lonelier. While we’re ostensibly socializing more, we have less and less actual society/community. A recent article in the Atlantic, Is Facebook Making Us Lonely?, posits that Facebook is at the center of our malaise. One of the things it notes is that when you sign up for Google+ it suggests you include only your “real friends”. There’s widespread recognition that we’re not being real on Facebook. We’re putting on a show (often a narcissistic one). And this is tiring to everyone else. Could it be that Facebook distances us from one another?
There’s a definite correlation between Facebook use and loneliness, per the Atlantic article, although not a causality. Perhaps lonely people use Facebook. However, that’s a LOT of lonely people (1 in 13 people on the planet are on Facebook). The article cites research showing an increase from 20% to 35% in self-reported loneliness over the past decade by adults age 45+. Another study found that 1 in 5 Americans are lonely. That’s significant. Health care professionals are speaking of “an epidemic of loneliness.”
Meaningful social interaction is a way to combat loneliness, and people are longing to be meaningfully connected. In What’s Your Tribe?, Newsweek, April 9, 2012, we learn from biologist E.O Wilson that everyone (no exception) needs a tribal connection. We’ve a deeply ingrained evolutionary drive to join. Tribes give people comfort and pride from communal fellowship. I believe, unlike Facebook (where the average user had a network of 190 “friends” six months ago; and today they have 245 “friends” – a lot of friends to make for each us in six months!) blogs can tap into this drive and enable these meaningful connections. People don’t collect connections on blogs; they simply engage. One activity is passive; the other is active.
Blogs bond; Facebook isolates.