Often times in recent history, social media has garnered more negative responses than positive, despite the fact that we all continue using it. It’s said to have enabled the “me” generation and caused us to live in bubbles that have created the current political climate. Certainly these things may be true, however, there have also been several encouraging and remarkably positive influences social media has given us. Here are just a few you should know about.
First thing's first, do you remember the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge? For almost an entire year, our Facebook feeds were filled with videos of people getting buckets of ice water dumped on them. Everyone, from your neighbor down the street to President Obama took part in this ridiculous campaign. It’s a crazy idea, but somehow it worked! According to the national chapter of the ALS Association (ALSA), the challenge brought in a staggering $115 million. The New York Times reported that, over the past two years, money from the challenge has helped fund the research and development of treatment drugs, as well as entice people to design technology for people living with the disease.
This is a great example of a campaign that was successful in not only sparking a conversation but driving real change in the world. Social Media marketing creates this immediate funnel where audiences can support and contribute worldwide, creating global attention for a cause. When disaster strikes or tragedy happens, go fund me pages are created to support the victims. And the magical part is that it usually starts when just one person shares.
Have you heard of Charity:Water? The World Economic Forum reported in 2015, that the water crisis is the foremost global risk facing the societies around the world. Water related diseases kill nearly 1 million people each year. Charity:Water has been one of the leading forces in not only driving the conversation around this issue, but creating innovative ways to raise money and make change. In February of 2009, 202 cities around the world held ‘Twestivals’, basically Twitter festivals inviting the twitter-sphere to raise awareness about Charity:Water projects. In that one event, Charity:Water raised more than $250,000 to finance water projects in the developing world by appealing to people to then get together in person for the cause.
More recently, they've created a campaign to pledge your birthday. Instead of collecting more stuff you don't really need, you can create your own campaign and invite your friends and family to give to Charity:Water. The coolest part is that 100% of the money that you raise goes directly to fund clean water projects. When completed, you'll receive the exact GPS coordinates and photos from the project that you helped to fund.
Maybe you are asking yourself, ok, so what’s one way I can get involved? Here at Imagine, we have joined the movement of the Pledge One Percent Club. Club One Percent empowers people and businesses with great ideas to create change in their community, city, country, and the world. Businesses and individuals pledge one percent of their time and resources to charitable causes and events, and then shares about it, encouraging others to do the same.
Sure, maybe there is such a thing as too much social media (though here at Imagine, we think that’s silly), but don’t let anyone tell you social media is a bad thing. As you’ve read above, all it takes is a few innovative and creative people to start social media movements that enact real change in the world. At Imagine, we believe that those crazy enough to change the world, are the ones who actually do. And maybe social media is just the tool to make it happen.
Written by: Samuel Landis