At Work: Communications - Medium and message

Indira Das-Gupta

Epilepsy Action makes friends and influences people on the social networking site myspace.com

Epilepsy Action has capitalised on the overwhelming success of the social networking phenomenon www.myspace.com by creating its own page on the website. It has already made more than 350 'friends', including Irish rockers U2.

About 100 million people around the world regularly log on to myspace.

Many of them are teenagers and young people, and the charity saw it as a great way to reach new groups.

"We decided to put up our own page on the site because we felt that it would be a really good way of targeting a younger audience," says Mark Morton, web manager of Epilepsy Action."They can be difficult to reach through existing media."

The page includes a blog about the charity's work and excerpts from a DVD for children called My Dad Has Epilepsy. Users post messages and questions, and content is updated weekly.

"You have to email people to ask to be their friend, and so far we have had 366 requests," says Morton. "We have also successfully applied to be friends of bands such as U2, Razorlight and Girls Aloud so that we now appear on their pages. That's increased the number of hits we get."

Epilepsy Action is so pleased with its success on myspace that it is planning to create pages on similar sites such as bebo.com, which is aimed at a younger audience.

"All charities should be using at least one of the social networking sites to try to reach new audiences," says Morton.

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