Harnessing the power of social for social good was a major trend and point of discussion among conscious techies and seasoned panelists during <a href="http://www.blackenterprise.com/2012/02/16/top-trends-shaping-social-media-in-2012-and-beyond/">Social Media Week 2012</a>. We’ve seen how quickly platforms can be used to mobilize reform efforts thanks to social media’s influence in the Arab Spring and recent <a href="http://www.blackenterprise.com/2011/11/16/david-banner-on-occupy-wall-street-movement/">Occupy Movement</a>. Digital thought leaders have no doubt that, when used properly, social media can be a significant cultural unifier, connecting people and efforts despite location. <br> <br>
Moderated by <strong>Alice Korngold</strong> of <a href="http://www.korngoldconsulting.com/" target="_blank">Korngold Consulting LLC</a>, "Social Media for Social Good"—an hour-long panel discussing best practices to use when furthering a cause in the digital space—wasn’t short of generating great ideas. The panelists included <strong>Cheryl Heller</strong>, board chair at <a href="http://poptech.org/" target="_blank">PopTech</a>; <strong>Dan Savage</strong>, creator of the <a href="http://www.itgetsbetter.org/" target="_blank">It Gets Better Project</a>; President and COO of <a href="http://www.digitaria.com/" target="_blank">Digitaria</a> <strong>Doug Hecht</strong> and <strong>Carmel Hagan</strong> of <a href="http://www.common.is/" target="_blank">Common</a>. Here’s how social media enthusiasts can use various platforms for social good:––<em><strong>Noni Cavaliere</strong></em>
<strong>Be visual</strong> <br> <br>
It’s hard to ignore a cause or movement when there’s strong visual elements and signage paired with effective messaging.
<strong>Use proper technology for your message</strong> <br> <br>
Ask yourself, "What’s your message?" Once you’ve got this figured out, fine tune into an action statement; then, Dan Savage says, find the technology (or social media platform) that will leverage this message. For the It Gets Better campaign, Savage chose short video clips as his visual tool. Digital video was their technology selection of choice, while YouTube served as their platform. Just like building a brand campaign, find your message and choose both your platform and messaging technology. Be aware of the impact and have a measurement to gauge progress.
<strong>Initiate a “small ask”</strong> <br> <br>
Invite your community to participate in a small, “doable thing.” Whether it’s showing up to a protest (like utilized with the OWS movement) or making a short video message for a YouTube channel, make your call to action count. Keep in mind that once you have initiated that small ask, you should be ready to follow it up with a bigger one.
<strong>Track the progress of your social good</strong> <br> <br>
What type of impact are you aiming to receive from your efforts? How are you measuring success? These are questions that should be at the forefront of your mind. It is how you’ll monitor whether or not the social good is really making an impact. (Remember: You can't reach everyone and that’s okay.)
<strong>Get real</strong> <br> <br>
Take your message outside the Web and implement progressive actions in the real world; urge participants to do the same.