Facebook co-founder launches Jumo

A very new kind of social networking site has now been launched by one of the co-founders of Facebook. Jumo is designed to enable users to connect to the causes that mean the most to them. Via Jumo, users can find information, share progress and provide support for any good cause.

Jumo has been launched by Chris Hughes, following his departure from Facebook in 2007. Hughes was inspired by the public reaction following some of the world’s major disasters. His view was that the overwhelming support for things like the Haiti earthquake was inspiring, but that there was no mechanism for people to follow and support these causes after an initial media blitz.

A version of Jumo was launched in March, but at that time simply featured a homepage and survey box that presented questions related to specific causes. Having entered your responses, your email address was then registered for updates on the progress of the launch. The site is now open for registration for all users.

 To get started, users must first have a Facebook account (ironically enough). Via Facebook Connect, Jumo will be updated with your account details and will also be granted permission to access your Wall and updates. Thereafter, users select a user name and password, before being asked to select the sort of issues and organizations in which they are interested.

There are seven key areas of interest – arts and culture, education, environment and animals, health, human rights, peace and governance and poverty. Users can express a strong interest, basic interest or no interest at all, which will allow the site to customize the content. Next, Jumo will present users with a summary of causes that they may wish to follow. There are already 3500 organizations on board. The causes are broken down into more specific categories. Environment and Animals, for example, is divided into causes related to wildlife preservation, environment, alternative energy and climate change.

Thereafter, the layout is rather like Facebook, with a central feed of news stories and updates. Projects will continue to be suggested to you, with more appropriate suggestions evolving as you interact more with the site. You can also find projects that are in your location, broadening areas of interest outside specific causes. Users can also add their own projects, allowing others to start to follow any fundraising or awareness activities that you might be taking part in. Features such as being able to ‘Like’ certain pages exist here too.

By following a project or area of interest, users are presented with updates and links to information. Each cause offers advice and guidance too, so by following a cause that is affecting your life, you will receive news and information that may help you deal with issues and problems.

Clearly, Jumo has a less gimmick-laden approach then Facebook and aims to reach out to communities socially without undermining the value and importance of the causes. For those who find social networking a slightly superficial pastime, Jumo might just offer something interesting and very worthwhile.