Explorers of new frontiers

Thursday is blog day so I’ll tear myself away from the sacred rites of thesis worship to bring you a couple of examples to connect to my previous writing.

Facebook fan pages

Last week in “Why should I ‘like’ you?” I discussed Facebook fan pages and organization profiles. The question was, how does an organization go from simply asking for your ‘like’ to actually engaging you in their little online community. Take a look at Carnegie Hall’s page. It’s an iconic institution so it’s not a surprise that they have over 60,000 ‘likes.’

They are also trying very hard to go beyond that and to give their ‘likers’ a way to get involved. They are currently running a campaign called “30 Day Summer Challenge” where each day they ask you to supply a piece of music that fits some criteria. I missed the beginning of this, but it seems to be a contest. I think the person who answers the most questions will get some sort of prize. This is not the sort of thing to attract a user like me, but I’m probably not the target. The targets are engaging.

Carnegie Hall also posts various bits of archival material to give people glimpses of its past and all the iconic figures who have a history there. Some of their posts are meant to be inspirational in the lofty sense or the cute sense (for example, posting pictures of loving fathers bringing their kids to Carnegie Hall events).

Aided by Facebook’s Timeline layout, this page looks like a scrapbook that users are invited to expand with their own little signatures (as if saying “I’ve been here” on some tree or rock). And while people are browsing this fairly trivial material, reliving their own experiences, they also come across reminders about upcoming events and special programs. Carnegie Hall’s agenda is pushed through quietly, without too much yelling.


In “Crowdfunding as a leveraging tool” I touched on the idea of harnessing the power of sites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo to finance your projects. I recently came across an Indiegogo project started by a Halifax non-profit, Centre for Art Tapes. I am really curious to see how this campaign will do because everything about it tells me that it’s all wrong. It’s missing the point.

  1. It’s not raising money for any particular project. Where is my money going exactly? I am selfish and I want my name to be attached to something more glamorous than ‘operational funding.’
  2. The perks don’t get you anything that you can’t get outside this campaign: memberships and rental credits. There are only two perks, which might be worth getting through the campaign because they save you about $2.50 from the full price. Every other perk is simply an overpriced membership.
  3. When all the perks are handed out, I wonder how much money the campaign will actually bring the organization. They are giving away things that people would pay them for anyway as a regular part of using the Centre. If everyone claims the “Associate” or “Individual Member” perks, the Centre will actually be losing money. Have they done the math? Yes, you will probably always have to use some of the campaign money to pay for the perks, but the trick is to make them something that will naturally come out of the project without costing you extra.

In short, this whole campaign is nothing more than a regular membership and donation drive aimed at people who already use the centre. The whole thing is a perfect example of applying an old mode of thinking to a new tool in the belief that the glamour of the tool itself will bring better results.

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