Social Media for Social Good

Yesterday, Susan Smith Ellis, CEO of (RED), shared her thoughts on how social media can dramatically impact cause-related efforts. RED has gained support from celebrities, companies and retailers and yes – us, the general public. On Sept. 23, they are launching “Social Good Day,” in collaboration with Mashable. The premise is that social media can make the world a better place.  At first, I immediately jumped up saying, “YES, it does!” But the reality is that social media isn’t what makes social good possible, rather, it’s just another channel to allow people to donate, volunteer and spread awareness. Social good requires ground level action first and foremost. The key is getting people there.

Social media does, however, allow anyone and everyone to show their support for a number of causes. One increasingly popular means for cause-related support is celebrity endorsements.  From Ashton Kutcher to P!nk to Justin Bieber, celebrities who push issues they believe in – enlisting fans to take action. Through celeb support and their tweets and Facebook posts, more people are aware of issues that need our support, celebs aside.  The key again is to take action, not just awareness.

For someone who uses her star power for good, let’s look at Lady Gaga’s message to the Senate to repeal Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.

The video has gained nearly 1 million views in a matter of 2 days. Since Gaga has entered the world (yes, I said world), she has urged her fans and non-fans to do something. At last week’s VMA’s, Gaga shared her support for Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN). Within 72 hours of her announcement, SLDN has more than 107K visitors, 93% of which were new visitors (via Politics Daily). Gaga also posted messages on Facebook and Twitter, revamped her site and urged Ellen viewers to call their senator. The call to action is timely, since the vote is this coming Tuesday. I’m interested to see how many people actually called their senator. Or if the number would have increased if the call to action was to sign an online petition.

The keys to leveraging social media for causes and non-profits are collaboration and action. Despite a newer platform, our purpose and goals should not change. Twitter, Facebook and online videos are just other ways to raise awareness to raise funds and volunteers. We still need grassroots advocacy and strategic partnerships (online and offline). So yes, I do believe that social media can lead to social good, but it’s only because it is rooted in “social.” And to me, social equates to people and a community that must first believe in doing that good.

What are your thoughts on social media for social good?

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Posted on September 18, 2010, in Events, LGBT Communications, Media, Pop Culture, social media, Web/Tech and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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