Is peer pressure a good reason for a nonprofit to jump into social media?

Everyone else is doing it. Shouldn’t you be doing it too?

Like the typical kid, I sometimes followed the crowd and did dumb stuff. When an adult — maybe my mother or a teacher — would ask me why I had smoked a cigarette or skipped school or whatever, I would use the age-old excuse “But everybody else was doing it.” And the adult would use the textbook retort for my lame excuse: “If your friends jumped off a cliff, would you do it too?”

The obvious answer — the one the adults wanted to hear — was no. No, I would not follow my friends off a cliff. No, I was not a lemming following the other lemmings. In fact, somewhere around age 30, I decided that running the opposite direction from those lemmings was the best approach.

But when it comes to social media, maybe the answer should be yes. As in yes, you should follow the crowd as they take a leap with no safety net in sight.

Just say yes to social media

Take the Association Forum of Chicagoland, for example. The Chicago-based “association for associations” has joined other nonprofits with its foray into social networking sites such as Facebook and LinkedIn, as well as DIY media like YouTube and Flickr. At first glance, it may seem like the Association Forum’s presence on those sites is largely because, well, other groups are there.

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