So I spent the day after Thanksgiving wrestling with logic models, which is way more fun than doing the dishes. If you want to cut to the chase and see what I made (two logic models for nonprofts considering using social networks) just click here.
My last post on social networks and decision trees was picked up by Beth Kanter, who wanted to see a logic model developed for nonprofits considering engagement in social network sites (SNSs); Amy Sample Ward, who was kind enough to back up my somewhat vague assertions with cold hard data; and Kevin Gamble, who shared his organization’s experience with trying to launch a custom site (based on Elgg) while simultaneously experimenting with creating a community on Facebook, and the surprising results.
Kevin recommends that we think about where the people are already assembled – if they are already gathering on an existing SNS, then his experience suggests that it is far easier to just build your community there.
I think this is true – but he does mention that his constituency is largely progressive, which I am going to take here as meaning, at least in part, tech-savvy. Or at least tech-willing.
How do you make an assessment about where to build community if your constituency is tech-resistant?
As I said in my original post, I think you have to be forward-thinking about this. It is very easy to say my constituency isn’t on social networks. But what about in five years? In ten?
That’s why I think it’s important to take some of that cold hard data and build a matrix of some sort that would allow people to input their constituency demographics (60% female, 35-50, and white-collar, say) and see what sort of participation this segment currently enjoys on exisiting SNSs, what the trend is, and predict out from there. There’s not a TON of data, but there is some.
If one were really crafty, one could make it into a widget, an online calculator of sorts, where you could just answer a few questions about the basic make-up of your audience (either the one you have OR the one you wish you had), then click a “submit” button, and get a nice little read-out of how those folks are using the social web, and how that usage is expected to trend in the future.
Wouldn’t that be helpful?
So I decided to take a stab at creating a logic model to help think through some of the issues of time, money, resources, mission advancement, and measurement that arise when one wonders if one’s organization should get involved in social network sites.
I agree wholeheartedly with Amy’s assertion that the question is no longer Should we network? but How should we network? However, I’ve had more than my share of the Koolaid on this here dude ranch, so I thought it would be useful to walk people through that decision for themselves.
So I roughed out two draft logic models, based on this recently discussed logic model tool:
- Should my organization use a Social Networking Site?
- Should my organization use a custom or an existing Social Networking Site?
I’ve posted them on Beth’s wiki for social media metrics, so head on over and have a look if you’d like. If you’d like to suggest changes, edits, improvements, either request an invitation to the wiki or leave a comment here.