Sonny Cloward, NPower NY
[Ed. Note: Some of the information in this article may be a little dated. For more on the changes happening at Change.org, read our blog.]
A little over a month ago, social good networking site Change.org launched with exposure few startups, much less nonprofits (which Change.org is not), could dream of - they got Techcrunched. Lots of do-gooders like me jumped on the site and were presented with the audacious yet simple question: what do you want to change in the world? The premise is pretty straightforward - connect people with one another and organizations to push forward common causes (i.e. changes). I perused the site, thought it was a great idea, didn't dig very deeply, felt a moment of kumbaya with my fellow do-gooders and then quickly forgot about it. And based on Change.org's Alexa traffic rankings, I wasn't alone.
So is Change.org just another fly-by-night project of some well meaning people with a good concept - just badly planned and executed - awaiting a slow descent into the dead pool? The site has a nicely streamlined and accessible UI, so it's obvious someone put some thought and resources into it. Yet it has nothing in the way of features that hook me and keep me engaged and active in issues and people that matter to me (via dashboard, email, or RSS). Or is it, as Matthew from theCoup.org said in the comments on the Techcrunch posting, "yet another website for me to log into? Another place to blog and check messages?" While there's a value-based incentive, we are becoming fatigued by social networking sites and more scrutinizing about how they are relevant in our lives and how we engage in them. In a landscape where there are really only two social networking players (MySpace and Facebook), where thousands of nonprofits already have pages where they connect with supporters - not to mention at least a dozen other comparatively minor social good networking sites - why Change.org?