Social media has superpowers. Or so goes current tech-wonk opinion on Facebook, Twitter, et. al. From creating a “social Web,” to shaking up e-commerce, to mobilizing people behind a presidential candidate, social media has reached its tentacles into pretty much everything. Except places where there aren’t iThings and high-speed wireless. Ya know, most of the places on earth. Until now.
Facebook co-founder and creator of MyBarackObama.com Chris Hughes aims to make social media matter more with his latest venture, Jumo. He’ll delve into how social media can create offline change at TechCrunch Disrupt, our conference on media and technology, taking place May 24-26, 2010, in New York City. You can get tickets at our early-bird rate if you visit our ticket page. We’re also happy to announce speakers including Meetup Co-founder and CEO, Scott Heiferman –the guy behind 50K weekly meetups — and Gilte Group CEO Susan Lyne. She’s at the helm of a buzzed-about sample-sale startup that’s caused “couture” and “clickthrough” to occur in the same sentence. Some of our latest sponsors include Google, Bing –yes, you read that right — and DataRockIt.
So, back to social media. When I say, “matter more,” I’m paraphrasing a bit. Hughes’ actual wording in an announcement last month was: “leverag[ing] the participatory web to foster long-term engagement with the issues and organizations that are relevant to each individual.” If you visitJumo now, the preview site asks you Hunch-style questions about your preferences such as which do-good cause you’d spend $100 million solving, which language you’d like to learn, and what you’d name your child. (I chose “Grace” over “Crystal.”) At Disrupt, Hughes and Heiferman will discuss how social media can foment positive fallout offline, including in places that aren’t wired and wealthy. (Hughes probably won’t tell us much about Jumo, but we’ll hear some of the inspired thinking behind it, no doubt.) Heiferman’s laudable goal with Meetup is to offer a tool for people anywhere to create communities around any interest. If you want to hear more details on what Hughes and Heiferman are dreaming up with their ventures, you’ll just have to come to Disrupt.