Third Sector have a report today about MyCharityPage,
“a new website billed as the sector’s answer to Facebook”. The site is currently just showing a page to sign up for notifications, so any reporting or commentary is likely to be speculation, but I have to say I find the whole thing rather puzzling.
Special interest social networking sites are far from new. Whether it’s last.fm for music, flickr for photography or dopplr for travellers there are plenty of examples around the web. One of the strengths of those sites, however, is that they don’t describe themselves as or set out to be a “facebook.” They each focus on serving their niches and doing what they do very well. In the case of dopplr, it’s very clear that they see themselves living alongside other social networking sites by providing excellent tools for importing your contacts from other places, and displaying your dopplr data outside their site.
It may well be that MyCharityPage sees itself in a similar way and that the copywriters or reporters got a little carried away. It wouldn’t be the first time that reports were written about the web that tried to compress it down to variations of the site-du-jour. But the emphasis of the reporting on MyCharityPage also makes it seem like a strange proposition as there are already so many options for charities to reach out to supporters on existing sites (where they already are) that it hardly seems worth the effort of already overstretched web communications officers to set up profiles on a site that is solely focussed on the sector and so unlikely to bring in new supporters.
Just as for musicians, what would seem helpful would be a site that set out to help charities manage their profiles and activities across the burgeoning world of social networking sites. That may well have the spin-off of also hosting profiles for those charities, but it would do it by simplifying their operations rather than adding yet another point of focus to an already crowded landscape. Maybe I’ll be pleasantly surprised by MyCharityPage, but I’m already hearing enough commentary from people who are confused about where to focus their limited resources that it will take a lot for MyCharityPage to impress.