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Is social media making us better people?

by Amanda Collins

There’s no question that social media has changed the world as we know it. We are more connected than ever before. In just a few short years, we have revolutionised the way we get our news, communicate and spend our free time.

Social media has even changed the way that we learn about and respond to issues affecting the world around us.

In a few clicks we can learn about diseases we never knew existed, donate to disaster relief and we can sign petitions to change laws. It’s people power gone viral!

How social media changes the way we give back

And this is a really good thing. Where once we felt powerless to help, now with a few keyboard strikes we can spread awareness, donate, and lend our support. We really can can change the world!

So to celebrate this new frontier in human compassion, let’s look at some campaigns which have made a big impact.

#nomakeupselfie

A simple campaign idea, #nomakeupselfie piggybacked on our love of a good selfie to raise over 10 million dollars for cancer research.

The basic premise of the campaign was to get people to take a selfie without make-up and post it on Facebook or Twitter. Along with the post and the hashtag, selfie posters would also text to donate a small amount to cancer research.

Simple. Effective. Viral.

social media for social causes

Rosie Huntington-Whiteley gets involved in the #nomakeupselfie movement

#EndangeredEmoji by WWF

To raise awareness and funds for endangered animals WWF launched #EndangeredEmoji on Endangered Species Day (15 May).

The campaign signed people up and encouraged them to tweet WWF’s range of endangered animal emojis. There was a choice of 17 animals. For every emoji tweet, the user made a small donation to help endangered animals.

Since its launch, the campaign has seen over 60,000 people sign up to donate, and has had over 560,000 mentions on social media including shout outs from high profile figures like Russell Crowe.

Social media and charity campaigns

WWF #EndangeredEmoji campaign

Tea and Consent by Thames Valley Police

Tea and Consent by Thames Valley Police is a simple example of how a smallish group can reach a massive audience.

Shared on social media, the campaign features a YouTube video which uses a tongue-in-cheek cup of tea analogy to clearly explain consent.

Since it’s release, it has been viewed by over one million people worldwide, and it even made international news!

Not bad for a police station which covers three British counties.

Social media is a platform for change

A still from the Thames Valley Police ‘Tea and Consent’ YouTube clip

ALS IceBucket

A social media phenomenon, the ALS Icebucket Challenge raised awareness of motor neuron disease and over $100 million for research.

So far these funds have been used to identify a new gene associated with the crippling disease. This discovery may lead to treatments and a cure!

Social media promotes change

Benedict Cumberbatch takes the Ice Bucket Challenge

MyCharity: Water Rachel’s Last Wish

This is an amazing story about the power of an individual on social media. It started with a 9 year old girl, Rachel, who instead of birthday presents, set up a donation site. On this site she asked family to donate money to raise funds for fresh water projects in developing countries.

She had a goal of $300, but fell just shy at $220. Following her birthday, she told her mother that she’d hit her target on her next birthday.

Tragically, she was killed in a car accident just one month later.

Harnessing the power of social media, her family shared Rachel’s wish with the world.

The story was re-shared by hundreds of thousands of people, and picked up by major television stations. The grassroots campaign raised over $1 million for water projects in some of the world’s poorest places.

On what would have been her 10th birthday, Rachel’s mother and grandparent’s travelled to Ethiopia to witness a water project being funded by Rachel’s wish.

To date, 60,000 people across over 100 villages now have access to clean water thanks to the actions of one little girl, her family and the power of social media to make it happen.

Watch Rachel’s story here.

This is the future

Social media is not just a place to browse friends’ holiday snaps and comment on their amazing (or not so amazing) dinners. It is also a powerful place where people can come together and harness the best parts of humanity. It is a platform where we can quickly, easily and effectively make a real difference in this world.

Welcome to the future!

Interested in social media?

Why not harness people power and make it your career with a Diploma of Digital Marketing and Communication from Open Colleges. Study where you want, when you want and get the skills and knowledge you need to launch your dream career!

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