Social Media For Good

Today is Social Good Day. A day to celebrate how social media has changed philanthropy and changed the world into a better place. Social media has been around for years, and only in the past three years or so has social media exploded. From blogs to Facebook pages to LinkedIn and Twitter accounts, we’ve seen social networks come and go. That’s the beauty of technology and innovation.

But something else has come out of social media other than just connecting – social change. People all over the world are making headlines with social media because it acts as a donation and awareness mechanism for nonprofits, it saves individual’s lives and it invokes viral change that no one could have anticipated.

Saving Lives

  1. Philip Bain, a 21 year-old student from Britain, fell from a seventh floor hotel in the Mazatlan over the 2010 New Year. He was rushed to the hospital and put into an induced coma. However, the doctors faced an immediate problem: Bain’s blood type was O negative. Thousands of miles away back in the U.K. Bain’s family and friends responded by creating two Facebook Groups appealing for donors in Mexico. Within a few days, the hospital received enough blood to perform several life saving operations on him. The two groups combined have over 23,000 members and are now used to update friends, family and strangers on his progress and to promote world wide donation blood drives.
  2. Human rights activist and filmmaker Michealene Risley went to Zimbabwe to film a documentary about the myth that men with HIV/AIDS believed that if they raped a virgin that they would be cured of their disease. Her documentary focused on a woman and CNN Hero, Betty Makoni, founder of the Girl Child Network. Makoni provides shelter and rescues children that are victims of of physical abuse and rape. While in Zimbabwe, Makoni, Risley and her assistant were arrested for painting Zimbabwe in a bad light. Risley’s husband let all of her fans know on Facebook that the site needed to be taken down because Michealene and her assistant had been arrested and were being held in a Zimbabwe prison known for torture. One of her longtime fans had a friend in the CIA and had alerted them to her situation. Within 48 hours Michealene and her assistant were deported from Zimbabwe with no questions asked. They kept her computer, but let her have her film back. Her documentary, Tapestries of Hope, will be the first film to streamed on Facebook Live. Facebook saved her life – literally.
  3. Greg Polski wrote to SuperCool Ad Agency and said, ““Your superhero… is smoking? That’s not really cool.” They challenged him: “If Supercool Creative gets 500 tweets telling us the logo is no good we’ll change it… on our business cards, letterhead, websites, social networking sites… everything.The challenge was to have 500 unique accounts RT: @SupercoolAgency #LoseTheCig. The result was that in one month 500+ people stood together and used Twitter to make the first anti-tobacco campaign a success!

  4. What do you get when Stand Up To Cancer partnered with t-shirt company A LOT TO SAY to put out a t-shirt with the words “Smokin'” on it to raise money and awareness about cancer? A very angry lung cancer advocate who thought that the shirt perpetuated the stigma and false belief that you had to smoke to get lung cancer. Within hours Tracy Sestili created a Facebook Group and tweeted about it every hour on the hour using a social media desktop tool (Hootsuite) to schedule updates. She was soon joined by other lung cancer advocates, including WTF? For Lung Cancer creator, Jennifer Windrum. The result was that within 24 hours the t-shirt was taken down from both sites and acknowledged by SU2C’s twitter account that it was history.
  5. 12for12K is an idea spawned by Danny Brown that combines social media with fundraising to change the lives of millions through social media. The goal of the campaign is 12 charities raising $12K per month using the power and outreach of tools such as blogs, Facebook, Twitter, newsrooms and more. The partners of 12for12K are donating the time for free. 12for12K does not process any donations and each payment is linked directly to the nonprofit’s bank account. The result has been since December 2008 it has raised $100,000 for charity. Just a bit shy of its overall goal, but an admirable effort and more to come.

These are just five examples of using social media for good. Do you have a similar story? Let me know in the comments section below or visit me on Facebook and I’ll include it in a future article.

Follow me on Twitter @tracysestili
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