Tag Archives: karaswisher

why nonprofits should care about bebo & aol

Nonprofits have a hard enough time determining if, when, and how they should get shaking on Facebook or MySpace, the two massive players in the United States social networking space.

Now comes news that AOL has acquired Bebo, a popular social network in the United Kingdom and New Zealand, but a bit of an also-ran in the States, and nptechies in the US will be forgiven if their response borders on the “so what” or “please shut up” side of things.

Charlene Li at Forrester Research analyzes what the deal means for the future of social networking, and Kara Swisher breaks down the numbers a bit, if you’re into that sort of thing.

But even if you’re not interested in the numbers, don’t lose sight of these numbers:

AOL users still number in the 40 millions (remember that this includes the still-popular AIM and ICQ instant messaging services). And a committed core of users is, in fact, still loyal to the walled garden AOL community that made the company successful in the 1990’s.

If AOL can successfully integrate a true social network into its core community, then this will introduce an otherwise somewhat internet-shy group of users to the culture and mores of social networks. This integration would have the effect of making social networks more mainstream to these older, more tech-resistant groups.

“Older” and “more tech-resistant” describes the core donor base of many nonprofits today.

So it makes sense for the nonprofits to whom these donors are important to become fluent in that culture as well.