In case you haven’t noticed, the One Post Challenge entry from “a fundraiser” has generated 60 comments as of this writing. I have intentionally not commented on the progress of the competition so far as I didn’t want to interfere in the process that was unfolding. But I’m going to break my silence.
What the $500 For Your Nonprofit post did was take control of the competition and create an incentive for commentators rather than retaining the incentive for the blog post author. This was an exceptional demonstration of the author’s understanding of online fundraising. His/her post generated attention and a link from a high traffic blog called BlogActive, which quickly became the top referring site to my blog (hello Pride at Work!). The fact that both the NY Times and the Chronicle of Philanthropy coincidently mentioned my blog yesterday also spurred traffic (although it is important to note that BlogActive sent more readers, and more engaged readers, than the NY Times or the Chronicle).
So now we see that when competing for attention online, having a great, well thought-out message doesn’t always win the game. You also need to understand the medium that you’re working with. Now the question becomes does the $500 For Your Nonprofit post simply highjack this competition and show that mobs are more powerful/important than intelligent thought provoking commentary? Or are their new and creative ways that participants can take back control of the competition and find a way to redirect this traffic surge to engage people to type more than three words?
To me, this is the central dilemma of online marketing. Is the internet great at getting millions of people to watch online videos of cats doing dumb things? Or can the power of social media be harnessed to provide a benefit to the public good?
I can think of no industry with a more vested interest in this question than philanthropy.
What’s your answer? Email me your entry to the One Post Challenge and demonstrate how social media for the social good is done.