Social media has taken a lot of hits over the years, with many people considering it a waste of time. When you think of social media, you often immediately think of services such as Facebook and Twitter. While these do make up the majority of social media use, they don’t cover everything. And while they do have many benefits, they’re rarely used to help move the world to a better place. If you own or find yourself part of a non-profit and/or civil rights movement, check out how you can use social media for good.
Sharing Inspiring Content
Image via Flickr by SoniaT 360
As a consumer, finding uplifting content often serves as the most pleasant experience when using social media. That, and sharing said content. A great story or new information can make a person’s day. Take the Lean In movement, for example, which came from the book of the same title by Sheryl Sandberg. The movement encourages women to follow their ambitions, and has gained popularity via Pinterest. Lean In’s Pinterest account has a board for women’s favorite inspirational quotes. Lean In also recently partnered with Getty Images creating images that portray women in an empowering way.
Some sites, such as Upworthy, produce and display content meant to inspire and encourage people, while shedding light on more positive aspects of life, as well as issues that don’t get discussed often enough. They present these videos and information in ways that promote sharing through social media.
Reinforce Positive Behaviors
When new movements come about that give people the opportunity to behave in a positive way that can create change, you can’t find a better way to spread the word than through social media. One movement, Giving Tuesday, exists to encourage Americans to give what they can and take part in charity on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving.
Giving Tuesday cleverly implemented the idea into social media by asking participants to share what they call an “unselfie.” This genius play on the infamous selfie has the participant take a picture of the cause they want to support and not of themselves. This worked well because it accessed an already existing popular social media behavior, and put an interesting and positive twist on it. This strategy is sure to create curiosity while simultaneously inspiring others.
Capitalize on Creativity
Social media has given lots of people new ways to express their creativity. Some organizations have realized that they can capitalize on this by creating a bit of creative competition among their followers. For example, (Red), the organization dedicated to eradicating AIDS, asked its followers to try to set a record for most Vines sent out toward a single cause. The vines just had to show something red to raise awareness for the cause.
Some of the most afflicted countries in the world took this idea to heart and came up with all kinds of creative ways to make vines that really portrayed the message. Some images include showing several hands holding a red ribbon together, or red candies used to spell out the (Red) logo.
As a transgender, she’s faced struggles with people trying to silence her during the movement. Since she’s reassumed control, she’s called out those holding back the movement, while reigniting the flame and getting people interested in the cause once more. Her reignition has created responses all over the globe. It’s phenomenal how all of that can be accomplished simply from a single Blackberry phone.
Giving a Voice to the Unheard
One of the greatest results of social media, and one that doesn’t always get discussed, is how many people now have a voice. Social media has allowed for people with similar ideals to find each other and exchange ideas. Now, anybody with access to the internet can find a way to empower their voice.
This has led to public recognition of previously unknown issues. One of the most interesting cases of this happening involves prosopagnosia, or “face-blindness.” Most people, including psychologists and doctors, knew nothing of this phenomenon until the internet allowed people with the issue to find each other. Once the movement grew online, doctors began to give the issue more attention. Bringing awareness of this disorder to the public allowed medical professionals to put time and money into developing ways to help.
Regardless of the cause, social media offers one of the best ways to help creat social change for the better. Don’t let yourself get bogged down by all the nonsense out there. You empower anything you give your attention to. Help participate in cutting through the weeds and focusing on positive movements.