KM on a dollar a day

Musing on knowledge management, aid and development with limited resources

Jumo! what is it good for? ….

with 4 comments

Like many working in the aid and development business I eagerly signed up for an account on the new “Social Network for do-gooders” Jumo (oohh shiny).

While others have done a more thorough job than I can (see this article from SSIR or this from Amy Sample Ward for good analyses), and I’ve only had a week of experience, I can’t resist a quick critique.

While I like the idea of having a good tool for social networking among those working in the not-for-profit world, I have to say I am a little disappointed with what I’ve seen so far.

Here are a few things that I think they didn’t get right:

1. Making people create accounts via facebook. While I like facebook, I like to use it mainly for private purposes, and so am not happy about the back and forth of information between the two systems. Some people I know have two facebook profiles, one for private and another for work, but like many, I can’t be bothered to do this. Of course many people I know in the not for profit world don’t have a facebook account at all and don’t want to have to create one just to join Jumo (apparently it will be possible to join without having to join facebook first at some point in the future).

2. Bugs – there were a lot of problems on the first day, but even now, a lot of things don’t seem to work properly. When I follow someone it doesn’t seem to work consistently, and even when it is noted on my profile page, it still says I’m only following one person by my avatar. If I look at other people, then it’s clear their follower followee details are incorrect. Notifications seems haphazard. I also don’t like that it only shows you a handful of the followers of any individual or organization. It often discover potential contacts by looking at someone else’s follow lists, but it doesn’t seem you can do this here.

3. Functionality – there seems to be a lack of any really useful functionality that distinguishes it from other platforms. An obvious question is why create a new platform at all, couldn’t we all just use facebook, twitter or something else that already exists? Maybe the advantage is that all the extraneous things from Facebook are stripped out (no farmville, or mafia wars), but also some of the useful functionality from other tools is also missing such as discussion boards, message threading, photo/video sharing. I also wonder whether it might have been good to have specific functionality relevant to the sector such as appeals, volunteering opportunities, vacancy announcements and maybe even ratings?

4. The network effect –  One big element of any platform such as this is that there needs to be a sufficient network of people who are actively using the tool for the connections it facilitates to be useful. Right now, despite a lot of sign ups by the curious and a few names, I don’t see there being enough momentum. This isn’t helped by the lack of accurate visualization of people’s networks, so as to be able to make use of them.

5. Purpose – perhaps most importantly it’s not clear to me what Juno is for. Is it for fundraising  and building relationships with donors? or is it for networking among those working on or concerned about not for profit issues? Right now it seems a bit of both but not fully either – and I’m not sure if the two are fully compatible. If it is for fundraising then it would need a much broader base of users from the general public – although its not clear why people would prefer to donate here rather than elsewhere except possibly because if they are successful you can find all organizations you might wish to donate to in one place.  In this case  think I’d want to find a lot more information about people to donate to than is currently being offered up on the site though (including user feedback).

If it is for networking among individuals and organizations involved in social good, then the donation aspect would need to be dialed down, and the network would need to be configured as more a kind of meeting or market place where people can form groups and share information around common interests, and where people could easily find interesting conversations, projects and opportunities.

While it’s early days, and many of the issues above could be fixed (especially given the strong backing Jumo has),  first impressions count for a lot in the current crowded landscape. While Jumo may yet take off and become an indispensable tool for not-for-profits –  unfortunately right now I’m not seeing a lot of added value.


Written by Ian Thorpe

December 8, 2010 at 3:10 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

4 Responses

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  1. Great analysis!

    You pointed out some of the problems I ran into after signing up with Jumo.

    It is a fact that my facebook page is much more personal than my other accounts but my professional endeavours have taken over my facebook so it wouldn’t be too invasive to allow access to my facebook page.

    In terms of functionality, it is unclear how to post a project on the site…and it seems as if there are many glitches in the matrix.

    Great article, you said out loud what we all thought.


    December 8, 2010 at 3:26 pm

  2. have to agree. i signed up — i found the categories doo-lally — we work in a range of areas, none of which are covered by their topic categories. plus i had my halloween pic up on facebook at the time of creating the profile (i wrong assumed they would allow me to use my own photo) — and what a job i had getting rid of that … had to email them. now i have to keep my facebook profile pics safe for professional consumption — on FB i usually often use pics of my kids, myself having fun etc — these are not pics i want to share on jumo (i also use FB for my personal life).

    i also have a problem that the logo i want to use for our organisation does not have a URL link, so I can’t put it in (we have two logo styles). I also don’t see how it’s going to increase my access to relevant info (so far it seems to be the same stuff I get on twitter) or increase distribution of information i put up there, altho, if I could figure out how to see PERSONAL accounts, I guess there *might* be some scope for making new professional connections … and since I feel quite isolated in my work it *could* be a good thing.

    (I’ve worked in NGOs for 15 years, and never worked for an NGO where there is more than one info&comms person, so it’s quite lonely and hard to make connections — or so far I’ve failed — especially within my country/region. It would be good, if for example there was an ICT topic on Jumo that could allow us to find each other … )

    so far really not impressed … and I don’t have time to be a seed that makes it grow. I have enough to do covering the I&C needs of the 20 or so researchers who work for us, and trying to learn the T part of ICT (which is not my strong point).

    Rebecca M.E. Pointer

    December 9, 2010 at 9:40 am

  3. […] To check out an alternative and, in retrospect, very valid critique of Jumo, check out Ian Thorpe’s post: Jumo! What is it good for? […]

  4. […] more here: Jumo! what is it good for? …. AKPC_IDS += "8170,";Popularity: 50% […]

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