What is Social Media for Social Change?
Many websites have laid claim to what has quickly become a catch phrase, but let's transcend the definitions these parties have attributed to this new movement and focus on what it really means.
It's the idea that with all the hundreds, thousands of ways we have to communicate we can make the world a better place. It's the idea that technology evolving to bring us social media has created an outlet for wildfire grassroots movements where real people can affect real change. It's the idea that if a blog post can get hundreds of Diggs, hundreds of Stumbles and re-tweeted hundreds of times, a message can travel from computer to computer, reaching millions of internet users. With the ability to get together in an unprecedented amount of ways, we do possess a greater ability to affect greater change, if only we choose to use it.
Yeah, you found that hilarious cat video on StumbleUpon, as well as that video game that wasted like two hours of your day randomly.
Your twitter friend from Chicago cracks you up like crazy, exchanging witty banter, links and info.
Those 100 Firefox apps you discovered on the front page of Digg ended up coming through with a few gems.
But if inane things like this can spread so easily, then so can issues that really matter. Charities, blogathans, twestivals, events can all get publicity with a smaller monetary investment, just through word of mouth. Or word of fingers typing on your keyboard.
Social media for social change is the ability to mobilize and make a difference by planting a seed with the stroke of a few buttons, and watching a forest grow. It's exposure for charities for free, e-mail forwards that are actually useful, notifying one another about important health actions we can take, how to protect us from fraud, how to be safer.
But, just like social media and technology are constantly evolving, so are the vehicles for change. Anyone can be the next big leader because of the tools we have today, and how we choose to use the tools of tomorrow. All it takes is believing in the power of many people making small contributions can make a big difference, some creativity and good intentions.
How can you make a difference using social media?