As we heard yesterday at Mark Zuckerberg's Facebook F8 2018 keynote, Facebook's goal moving forward is to build technologies that not only bring the world closer together, but bring people together - for good. As we've seen this year in particular, through the growth of movements like #MeToo, Facebook has been and can be a mobilizing force that both enhances users' understanding of real-world problems and potentially connects with and engages them to generate solutions.
One of the problems with making information accessible online, though, is oversaturation. With over 620 million Facebook groups on the web, it can be really hard to keep track of relevant content across all the groups you're in. Facebook's newsfeed looks at engagement as a key metric for what to show you, but if previous engagement is the only metric used to determine what to show, that puts social impact groups in a tough spot: essentially, they have to compete directly with clickbait and memes for users' attention.
We believe there may be a better way to communicate to users that relevant information and individuals are present within groups they are in. Sage is a chatbot that enables group leaders to create a realtime 'peoplebase' within their group, enabling group members to log things they have interest in/experience in, find others with more experience who can answer their questions, and be presented with highly relevant content to them to drive interest and engagement.
We developed a version of Sage for use with Macmillan Cancer Support's online community and OptionB, a series of support groups developed by the Sheryl Sandberg and Dave Goldberg Family Foundation. Our tool today is designed for deployment with people fighting/who have faught cancer, enabling them to be onboarded, their experience tags logged, and user matching conducted. When users match to chat with one another, they do so through the bot, enabling both sides to maintain anonymity (beyond user profile picture/first name) for security and privacy purposes.
We collaborated with Chris Gornell, digital engagement lead at Macmillan Cancer Support, and Clarice Cho, Associate Program Manager at the Sheryl Sandberg and Dave Goldberg Family Foundation, to develop this tool.