Is Offline Local Networking More Effective Than Online Social Networking?
My partner, Sharon, and I set each other a challenge at the back end of last year to see whether online social networking is more effective than offline local networking. The result was quite surprising but lets start at the beginning.
So, it all started when Sharon agreed to have her head shaved for a charity event in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support – who do a great job helping people whose lives have been affected by cancer. Sharon got the usual sponsorship forms from the charity then set a date for the big event – this was a big thing for Sharon but once decided she was going to do it she was set. Being a major thing to do we wanted to make sure we raised as much as we could for the charity as this is likely be one of those “once in a lifetime” things. So, for raising money to support the event I suggested she should use online social networking to let everyone know what was going on and to reach out to those who were up to six degrees of separation away.
Anyway, to put it in a nutshell, she told me it was a waste of time as it’s a local thing that will interest only local people and that online networking wouldn’t make an impact – and so the challenge was set: Sharon would use local offline social networking and I would support her using online social networking and we each had a target of raising £500.
Not being one to sit around the first thing she did was phone the local newspaper to help get the word out which really helped especially as she works in a local supermarket so customers were popping in with well wishes – and of course donations. Whilst she was doing that I set up an account at JustGiving and helped her set up a live streaming account at Bambuser (for recording the big day), a YouTube account for visual progress, and a WordPress Blog for keeping up to date with progress. We also used Twitter and Facebook for raising awareness.
As time went by we made sure everyone, including the papers, knew about the online activities so people had a choice of how and where to make donations. The big day arrived and head shave commenced and Sharon, using offline local networking, managed to pull in a staggering amount of around £1500 whereas the online networking were left behind at around £40 (although it was all gratefully received!).
So, in this scenario it seems that local offline networking was much more effective than online social networking.
Upon reflection we did make some interesting observations:
- YouTube currently has over 5,600 head shave videos
- Sharons head shave videos were viewed over 27,500 times on YouTube
- The live streamed event has been viewed just over 100 times
- Sharons Blog was visited 814 times with the busiest day being the day after the event – she mad 29 blog entries
- People were visiting Sharons blog however they preferred to make cash donations rather than online
So, what do you think? Cast your vote in the Offline vs Online Poll