***As seen on Rogers TV “Entre Nous” on September 22nd
Everyone has heard about the negative effects of social media, it develops short attention spans, it causes online bullying, nobody talks to each other in person anymore, kids are always glued to their phone, texting and acronyms develops trouble in spelling correctly and the list goes on. While it is true that social media and technology in general has totally changed our world in many ways and that some of these changes are not really positive. This blog post will focus on how we can use social media and the technology at our fingertips for good. It will show how social media has the power to do great things if only it is used for good. ( I feel like this is sounding a bit like the spider man speech “with great power comes great responsibility”, but in this case social media and freedom of expression is a form of power and we have a responsibility to use it well)
In today’s world Campaigns for charity’s and for good causes can have a much bigger impact. Social media and technology in general ( planes, internet etc..) has made it so we can share information to someone across the globe in seconds. This phenomenon has created a globalized world where someone living in a country on the other side of the globe from you is in fact not so far away anymore. Because of this these charity campaigns or movement for positive change can reach a worldwide audience with a click of a button. This permits more people to here the message or call to action, it permits more people to get involved and it allows people from anywhere to easily donate or contribute to a cause that is half a world away.
This when you think about it revolutionizes the old methods of promoting a cause. Instead of doing protests, using posters, putting stalls in the streets asking for funding or even doing a charity fundraising events people can do it all sitting at home on a computer. The women’s vote movement had to depend on those in person tactics and promotion by the newspapers to spread the word of their cause. They got it done, it took a long time but women can now vote. Putting things in perspective today a girl getting mistreated at work can go viral in a day and can make a company responsible for those actions withing a week. In short today if we want to stand up for something or promote a cause that we care about it’s easier than ever before. ( Disclaimer: I am not saying we can make as humongous a social change as the right to vote in one day, with no effort and only using social media, but that we can spread the word and reach more people more easily, look at the womens march who went global after Trump was elected.)
Here are a couple examples of how social media can be used for good and in these cases were used for good.
A first story is a current one. Hurricane Harvey. This was the main topic in the news for a long time (we are now seeing a bit more about the Mexico situation, it’s been a bad last few months for climate disasters) and for good reason. So many people were affected by this and the pictures were a bit scary, thinking how not too far away these events were happening. ( I will make a post later on about media and how it focuseses much more on North American situations than the disasters happening all over the world every day and why this is the case.) What I loved to see with this sad event though was how people were using social media to help each other. People from around the world were tuning in and trying to help in any way they can. There was fundraisers started by various people communicating via social media, there was donations and fundraising movement organized by social media. The list goes on about ways people were using onto social media to help other people out. One of my favourite stories of social media doing some good in this context was the case of the twitter user @symooneee she tweeted this picture below saying “Please help us, she a new born” then giving her adress. This picture got shared so fast and everyone was giving their support. Before you knew it ( within a couple hours) they had found a boat for her and she tweeted that she was safe with all her family and the baby.
In much the same way the demand for boats on social media was answered in droves. As as can be seen in this video of the boats lined up along the roadway to go and help. (https://twitter.com/Stealthy_Marine/status/902694717791641600?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw&ref_url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.statesman.com%2Fweather%2Fvideo-shows-line-trucks-towing-boats-texas-highway%2F0EjyW12syCvoqTo8pvtpsM%2F)
More great stories on this topic can be found but I have more examples to give!
Next up, this event which happened a little while ago. A man with a wide social media following (or so I am told I was not one of those followers) called Jerome Jarre heard about the level of poverty and the lack of food and water in Somalia. He was really bothered by it so used his social media and followers to share the program. It eventually developed into him, some other friends and Ben Stiller, the actor, using their social media to convince an airline to donate a plane and then proceeded to fund raise enough money to fill that plane with food and send it to those people in Somalia that needed the food. I mean talk about amazing! I haven’t heard anything really from them since the (though I haven’t really researched it) but the fact that this movement which started with one person denouncing a problem happening in the world exploded into sending a plane filled with tons and tons of food to people in need in another country using just the power of social media is incredible! This really shows how this tool can have the power for good! I would love to right more details on this but don’t want an extremely long post. ( see more about the story here https://www.buzzfeed.com/ikrd/jerome-jarre-asked-an-airline-for-a-flight-to-fill-with?utm_term=.qsj4NwDo8#.mxMLOB096 )
Another social media campaign that does a lot of good is the bell let’s talk day. For those who are not aware of this it’s a day where every tweet, facebook post or instagram post that uses the hashtag #belllet’stalk donated one dollar to mental health initiatives. This amazing campaign is a huge help in breaking the stigma on mental illness and spreading the word that so many people are infected by it directly or indirectly.
A last example. There is just too many to list! Is the Hashtag #Dreambigprincess This campaign was made by a partnership with a UN foundation initiative called GirlUp and Disney. The goal here was to post a picture or retweet a picture that was already taken and share the message that girls can be who they want to be and also has a goal to encourage them to dream big. The pictures like the one below shows girls in princess dresses breaking the gender norms of the prim and proper princess. Disney donated 1 dollar for every post with the Hashtag #DreamBigPrincess and in the end reached their goal of 1 million dollars!
So there are a couple of countless examples that show social media doing some good! It can be such a powerful tool when used for good deeds. I love in all these example seeing people rising up and spreading some kindness, in many cases people rising up and standing for equal right, understanding and overcoming and denouncing inequalities. It shows how there are so many people out there doing good, something that is easy to forget when looking at all the pain suffering and bad news in the journals and news broadcasts. It also ties in to the message of this blog of being part of a powered crowd with a goal for positive change!
With that said how can you get involved?
Following the theme of this post here is some social media initiatives that you can contribute to.
1. Telus is donating 1$ to charity for every volunteer hour you tweet or share on social media with the hashtag #millionhours (here is the website with more information https://community.telus.com/million-hours-of-giving/ )
2. Poweredcrowd.com You are already here! Great first step! Now use social media with the hashtag #poweredcrowd to share your work towards positive change. This simple act will show people that there is a Powered Crowd of us working towards positive change. Feel free to tag me in the posts (social media links are on the top of the page) and I will share almost all posts that follow this blogs goals. Let’s make this movement grow!
You can also go to my How to get involved page which is on the top of the screen.
3. Start following people like @PlanCanada, @Malala, @Youth_Ottawa, @YouthAssembly, @OneYoungWorld, @KofiAnnan, @metowe, @SeeDifferentCAN and the list goes on! There is also more local people that are great to follow such as @ThatHannahAlper and @LittleVBooks and much more! Following these people who are all working toward amazing goals is so easy. All you need to do is click the like or follow button and it makes these movements grow in strength. Bonus you can learn great things by following them!
4. Use your social media for good. It’s great to share some cool pictures, some memes or gifs, what your favorite celebrity did. But incorporating some tweets with some causes that you care for from time to time (healthcare, accessible water, education, gender equality, climate change etc.) is an essential step in spreading the word of what is going on in the world and is also essential in making everyone see that we are all part of the solution!
If we all do these things it can spark some amazing change. It might take time but in the meanwhile you know you are doing some good and becoming part of a PoweredCrowd for positive change!
Until next time!
*** since I finished writing this I found this cool initiative that is worth checking out. It’s all about wanting people who have disabilities to have equal rights, specifically in this case for jobs. The person who started this is at the moment I am writing this live tweeting about her journey on horse back across Columbia in route to One Young World in order to create awareness of her cause. Go on twitter and search @valuabletribe and @WeAreBinc to find out more.