An organization’s online identity plays an important part in the demonstrating their goals, spreading a message, bringing support to its actions, and influencing the world.
The Internet has created new ways for humans to communicate and connect. The Internet continues to transform the world at breathtaking speed. While the Internet has created entirely new forms of interaction between humans and machines, the fact remains that it is a human-to-human interaction that is taking place online and the fundamentals of human interaction remain unchanged. Who are you? Where do you come from? What do you do? Do you do it well? Can I trust you? And what can I trust you with? All of these questions apply with equal force to offline and online human interactions. The only difference is that Internet offers new tools to answer these old questions.
Not-for-profit organizations depend on the support of others to do their good work and to expand their missions. Organizations in the public interest seek to engage with foundations, other organizations, and individuals to gain financial support, share information, collaborate and attract volunteers. On the Internet, organizations must be able to answer these fundamental human questions effectively if they want to establish those relationships and gain long-term support. And to answer the “who are you” question effectively, you must create an online identity.
The average Internet user takes only 10 seconds to decide whether they want to stay on a website and learn more or move on. How an organization presents its identity in that first interaction is absolutely critical. The Internet provides a wide variety of platforms where one can create an identity and communicate their mission. Each platform provides different opportunities and drawbacks when creating an identity. Internet users react and attribute certain qualities to the identities on each platform. As in most human interaction, first impressions count.