As an online community, those of us working in social media and digital communications have an incredible combined reach. We’re socially-savvy and have nurtured our own personal networks to the point where our social graphs are, probably, second to none. But what do we really achieve with all this clout?
Working in social media doesn’t just have to be about achieving great results for clients, or cultivating personal relationships, or blogging and tweeting our way to (relative) fame. With such a huge collective network, we have a very real opportunity to come together and use our combined strength as a community to influence social change that benefits everyone. By nature, those working in social communications are generally altruistic – we share each others’ blog posts and good news and ideas. So it’s really not much of a leap to use that philanthropic approach for social good.
There’s currently a great example of this in action. Just last week, the charitable organisation Practical Action called on the tech and social media communities to back its campaign for ‘technology justice’ in the lead up to the Rio+20 Earth summit in June. The organization uses technology to challenge poverty in the developing world, and has devised an initiative called ‘Make Your Point’, where individuals can graphically demonstrate their support. But it relies heavily on social sharing and, with a natural affinity to all things tech and social, that’s where we come in.
‘Technology justice’ relates to the distribution of energy in the developing world, and the fact that without access to energy, poor communities have little hope of using even the most basic of technologies to escape poverty. While in the developed world we take technological innovation for granted, it’s shocking to learn that there are 1.4 billion people in the world today who don’t even have access to electricity, and that this is largely due to political issues around how energy – and the rights to access it – are distributed.
Changing Government policy is far from an easy task, but the UN has set a target of 2030 for universal energy access. On a more immediate front, Practical Action is determined that the issue will be high on the agenda at the Rio+20 summit, and it needs a wave of awareness and support from the digital and tech community to ensure this.
I firmly believe that as a community we can create real buzz around projects such as this, and that we have the ability to spread the word very quickly and easily. Social media for social good has a nice ring to it. So why don’t we all start right here, right now? Join me and click here to #MakeYourPoint.