Procrastinating With Social Media? Why Not Do Some Social Good!

By Amy Kattan “We don’t have a choice on whether we do social media. The question is how well we do it.” –Eric Qualman

There are more than 500 million users on Facebook. Twitter users are sending 55 million tweets per day. YouTube has over 100 million visitors per month. 22% of time spent online is attributed to social media. It may seem crazy, but the numbers don’t lie: Social Media has not only revolutionized the way we communicate, but it has played a crucial role in dictating the way we live our lives. We’ve all been there: logging on to Facebook for “10 minutes” only to look up from our computer 3 hours later wondering what we missed in the world around us. The way I see it, we have two choices: we can either fight the obsession or we can embrace it. If you had the opportunity to make your time spent on social networking sites more valuable, would you take it?

This is the idea behind social good.  Thanks to the rapid growth of social media sites, we are able to share information and ideas in ways we never could before. We can now use social media to not only gain a better understanding of what is going on in our immediate community, but to get a glimpse of the kinds of situations affecting people all across the globe. With this idea in mind, Mashable and 92nd Street Y partnered with the United Nations Foundation, a charity focused on connecting people, ideas, and resources to help the UN solve global problems. Together, these groups hosted the Social Good Summit in New York City yesterday, where our leaders had the opportunity to discuss ways in which social media can help address the world’s challenges. In honor of this event, we would like to take the opportunity to highlight some examples of social media users that have practiced social good and raised awareness of issues affecting many people all over the world.

Twitter

A simple tweet can go a long way. Actress Sophia Bush took a pledge to go one week without using plastic bottles in an effort to help protect our environment and she asked her 111,650 followers to take the pledge with her! As a result, people all over the world became more conscious of our environment, made an effort to avoid using plastic bottles, and spread the word to their friends.

TwitChange

TwitChange is the only global celebrity auction where Twitter users can place bids in an attempt to be followed, retweeted, and mentioned on their favorite celebrity on Twitter. All proceeds of TwitChange go to aHomeinHaiti.org and will be used to help rebuild the Miriam Center, which houses and educates Haitian children with cerebral palsy, severe autism, and other physical and mental challenges. Participating celebrities include Justin Bieber, Kim Kardashian, Jessica Alba, Rainn Wilson, Demi Lovato, and many more.

Crowdrise

Created by actor Edward Norton, Crowdrise is a site where users create fundraising projects, build compelling social good campaigns, and connect with their favorite charities. “It's about getting people who are not sure their little bit makes a difference to feel persuaded that they can make a difference," says Norton. Crowdrise users build a profile, create project pages for their favorite non-profit organizations, and encourage others to join them in supporting the cause. One Tree Hill’s Austin Nichols went as far as offering to send an autographed photo to anyone who donated $50 or more. Other celebrities on Crowdrise include Kristen Bell, Will Ferrell, and Elizabeth Banks.

Facebook Chase Community Giving

The Chase Community Giving Facebook Page is a great example of how a company can utilize social media and make a contribution to bettering our world. Launched for the second time on June 9th, Chase told Facebook users that $5 million would be donated to 200 charities of their choice and encouraged users to vote for their favorite charities. This program attracted more than 2.5 million participants. In the end, Chase donated to the Harry Potter Alliance, Kristin Brooks Hope Center, North American Bear Center, and many more.

YouTube

September 21st is Global Peace Day (in case you didn’t realize, that’s today!). In celebration of this day, the Internet for Peace Ambassadors held a contest on YouTube in support of the Internet’s nomination for the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize and chose one winner to celebrate with them in New York City on September 21st. On the Internet for Peace YouTube Channel, users are encouraged to join the debate, post videos with their opinion, and show their support for the Internet’s Nobel Prize nomination. The YouTube Channel attracted over 15 million views and almost 7,000 subscribers from all over the world.

It seems that the idea of utilizing social media to make positive changes in our world has become increasingly popular in recent months. What are some of your favorite social good campaigns?