We all know that the Internet represents a natural fit for social and political causes. Quite a few companies and organizations have been born on the net, utilizing the direct-connect and person-to-person element to inform people in mass and mobilize activity.
I recently discovered a site (also discussed about 10 minutes into the March 8, 2009 radio show) while surfing the net that caught my eye as another good portal for sharing and spurring activity on various causes. The company is MyCauseTV.
MyCauseTV is a video platform and a social network for consumers who are passionately involved with a cause. The company is currently seeking to establish partnerships between “for-profit brands and non-profit organizations” and to build online participation from consumers. The entire dynamic is certainly a positive one, as the staff at MyCauseTV recognizes the growing importance corporate responsibility and authenticity in social causes play in consumer decision-making.
What’s more, by taking advantage of the video format, MyCauseTV enables activists to put a more personalized and visual message together that resonates with a core audience.
I have already signed up to try out the site, and though it is in the early stages – you can see there is a lot of promise. Check out my profile at: http://www.mycausetv.com/users/hackmer/.
A couple of things I did notice that you will notice as well that the folks at MyCauseTV should address:
1) I did not find an intuitive way to access my Yahoo!, Outlook or other email address book to spread my profile to my contacts or share the site. Since the community is just getting started and needs to grow (a larger community will help make it easier to establish some of the long-term strategic partnerships MyCauseTV desires), a viral / sharing component is absolutely essential. This also is not a hard thing to code into the website.
2) I had trouble uploading a photo. It could be me, but I noticed there were lots of other people without photos which makes the site look more vacant and uninteresting. If there are photo requirements, they need to be spelled out. If there is a technical glitch – it needs to get fixed. But one suggestion is that users – who may not have a photo they want to post immediately available to them – be allowed to choose from 3 to 5 default images / pictures as a placeholder for their profile. This will at least make the community’s profiles look a bit better.
3) Last comment / suggestion, MyCauseTV needs to find another source of revenue (both short-term and long-term) from Google advertising on the site. One model they might consider is to offer users the option of selecting an advertiser video to precede (and only precede) their content. This then allows the user to select a cause or company they respect and what to be associated with their content, and gives them a voice. It’s a boon for the advertiser, because it buys them some additional positive street cred. Also, it helps your advertising base understand what kinds of causes and people support which advertisers and which content. The other model, which can be run in conjunction with this, is to give users the option to pay a nominal fee to run their video without any corporate or non-profit advertising. In both cases, the company comes out ahead revenue-wise, and helps to build better engagement with the people using the site.
On the whole, I highly recommend you check out MyCauseTV