Finances on Facebook

Jim Bruene has a great post on about the rise of financial services on Facebook.

Watching the explosion of content, and users, at Facebook, may be the most interesting thing we’ve seen since the rise of the commercial Web in 1995/1996.

Jim writes about the opportunities that exist for FIs to sponsor Facebook applications like ChipIn. Jim documents how ChipIn works really well using screenshots. Nicely done. It’s exciting to watch this new explosion of financial services within Facebook. It really democratizes how people can access money.

And I’m not just mentioning this because he gave Vancity’s Bike Share a nice plug (although it didn’t hurt).

Update on community platform.

I want to update my earlier post on using the social web as a community platform.

This morning we launched the Vancity Bike Share. In a nutshell…

Vancity Bike Share wants to see you to get on a bike, share it with others and spread the word about cycling. It is a chance to try alternative transportation, increase your daily exercise and share with your community.

We used as our platform to engage people and drive them to find out more and register. We ask participants to use the site to blog about their experiences with the bike, and also to find the person they want to pass the bike to after they’ve been riding it for three weeks. In addition to, we also used Facebook as a way to get the word out.

To be honest I wasn’t sure how it would go. Would people use these online tools to get involved? Could we use the social web to get people to take action? I hoped so, but I wasn’t sure.

But this event proves the power of a social network site. Within a week we had 23 applications to get a bike through the site, and the media attention has driven more people to the site to register and take part in the discussion.

Vancity has two factors working in our favour here: One is that we are local and deeply involved with the local community so the relevance factor is high. We tapped into issues (bike sharing and eco-friendly transportation) that Vancouverites care about and therefore the discussions on the site are meaningful to them. Second is that the values of Vancity, which are well known locally, fit with this initiative. People see it as genuine and trust the process. It doesn’t seem like ‘marketing’.

Asking some of the people who took one of the 40 bikes this morning, four told me they heard about it on Facebook. Amazing that at least 10% came from leveraging this social utility for free.

Read the bike share blog posts on

Powerful stuff.

PS: I also need to say that Kate is my new favourite person!