If you ask people what they think about Social Media, you will get mixed results. While some people think its merely a useless, time-wasting, World destroying distraction, others love it. Social Media is like anything else – it is what you make it. Sure, you can waste hours a day Tweeting pointless thoughts or watching stupid videos on YouTube – or you can use it for good. Now when I say good, I’m not talking about reconnecting with old friends or sharing useful information. While that stuff is productive and “good” in a sense, the “good” stuff that I’m talking about is Social Good.
Last Thursday, Mashable teamed up with (RED) to create Social Good Day with the goal of finding a way to use Social Media to raise awareness and find solutions to the World’s most pressing Social issues. The team used a variety of Social Media platforms to achieve their goal. They prompted people to Tweet possible solutions using the hashtag #SocialGood. They also encouraged their supporters to write a blog post, share ideas on Facebook and post a video on YouTube. Social Good Day is only one of many initiatives that aim at using Social Media to make the world a better place.
Take a second and think about today’s technologies – Social Media, Web 2.0, Smart Phones… it’s truly incredible. These tools have allowed us to connect with more people, and accomplish more. Think about how fast information travels. How many people see an idea, change it to make it better, and then pass it along?
“Ideas that spread through groups of people are far more powerful than ideas delivered at an individual.” – Seth Godin
How did you first hear about the Earthquake in Haiti? I’m guessing it wasn’t the newspaper. I found out on Twitter. The news of this tragic event traveled around the World in minutes. And, in turn, relief and donations were sent within hours. Social Media has not only informed us of World events at a faster rate, but it has also made it easier and quicker for us to help. 20 years ago, you might read about it in the paper, or hear it on the radio. And then you could mail in donations. Today, the news was everywhere within seconds and donating was as easy as sending a text message from your mobile device, or clicking a link on Facebook. Absolutely incredible.
Another amazing aspect of Social Media that is beneficial to charities is that it’s free. I use the term “free” loosely, but compared to other means of advertising, Social Media basically is. 93% of major charities use Facebook, 87% are on Twitter and 65% blog. Charities and non-profits continue to be superior to many large corporations with their use, management and monitoring of Social Media.
Social Media will not save the world – people will save the world. Social Media is simply an amazing tool that connects people, resources and ideas.
In closing, here’s a thought. Now, don’t get me wrong, I love Terry Fox. I’m not trying to discount anything he accomplished, because what he did was absolutely incredible and courageous. He is a true Canadian hero. But take a second and think about this. What if Terry Fox had access to a cell phone from which he could have Tweeted his Marathon of Hope? What if he had the ability set up a Facebook Page to promote his cause? What if he could have checked into locations across Canada using Foursquare, Gowalla or Facebook Places? And what if he had the option of documenting his journey on YouTube? Imagine the possibilities.
What are you thoughts about using Social Media for Social Good?