Links I Liked: #InstaAwesomeness, Metrics, Whatapp-News and the end of SIMLab

Like! Photo: Thomas Angermann on Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Photo: Thomas Angermann on Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

I normally avoid posting link collections close to each other, but over the last two weeks, I have come across a few really interesting articles. Enjoy!

Ahh – metrics! How we love to hate them! That mythical idea, that by adding a few numbers from a web dashboard we could track our contribution to social justice or the reduction of world hunger. Cynicism aside, we do need to be able to measure in some way whether the money and time we are investing produces … something. By now most people have realised that measuring fans/friends/followers is not what we should be looking at and there is a lively debate over how to measure “engagement”. M+R just published an interesting article describing how they measure what they call the Earned Reach Average on Facebook. What I particularly like is that they are looking specifically at the non-profit sector. And not only that, they are looking at the various different sectors within the nonprofit world, because cute-animal-NGOs are simply not the same as free-this-prisoner organizations.  I just wish they had provided a little more data on the different sectors.

When it comes to Instagram, NGOs either find it very easy to be successful or very hard. Similarly to what I wrote above, a lot of that has to do with your mission and how easy it is to take photos of what your organization is all about. However, even if your issue is not photogenic, there is a lot that you can do to increase your chances of success. For example: sign up for a business account, use the bio-link strategically or take advantage of the ephemeral nature of Instagram stories to try something new. In this blog post, Julia Claire Campbell explains how.

Messenger apps are becoming more and more important and we have seen organizations like the ICRC take a very close look at how WhatsApp and Co can be used in humanitarian crises. Unfortunately, market leader WhatsApp is much better suited for communication with few people than with large groups, which makes it far from ideal in a lot of humanitarian crises. WhatsApp now announced that they are releasing a WhatsApp business app that seeks to help companies improve customer support. Where they say “customer support” I hear “two-way communication with disaster affected people”. WhatsApp has not disclosed the functionality of the app yet, but it’s a topic that is definitely worth watching!

This last piece of news is a sad one. SIMlab is closing because they have run out of money – and owe some more. SIMLab is probably most closely associated with FrontlineSMS, which they originally helped to develop, but they also did a lot of work on monitoring and evaluation and beneficiary feedback mechanisms. However, their business model did not work out and they are literally owing money. If you ever used one of their free products and want to help them out, you can make a donation here. SIMlab’s closure should not impact FrontlineSMS since Frontline has been spun off as a separate entity three years ago.

 Do you have any links that you would like to share? Please leave a comment!