What is your relationship with Social Media like?
I received a very interesting message on Facebook today. In a nutshell a friend of mine (Facebook friend, so not someone I actually know that well) had a big bag of money and was looking for a good cause or a person or family to support and did I know anyone?
Thoughts of the latest strategic Settlers of Catan type board game aside, I gave it a little bit of thought. One name popped to mind and my wife provided the name of another woman who is doing amazing things in terms of gathering people and resources together for the purpose of meeting some restitution type needs. So I connected the two of them and they are going to make it happen.
I love how Social Media can be worked for the good of many.
THE TOOLS EFFECTIVENESS DEPENDS ON THE HAND
I have written before about the brilliance of Common Change groups as a means of getting creative about how we do generosity. But even before we get there, we can totally use Social Media to the advantage of the masses.
I don’t always have the resources of money necessary to meet the needs that I come across, but I generally know people that do. So when Rachel reached out to me, there were instantly names popping into my head and conversations started and connections made.
One thing I have been doing, to try and better my knowledge of my country’s history, (having grown up in apartheid South Africa and learned a very skewed account) is to read books by African writers or people writing specifically into the African story. The best way I have found these books is by sending out a Facebook status asking what the best books to read are, and once I have chosen my next one, to find someone who has a copy of the book they can lend me.
When some mates who do extra maths lessons at a school in Langa were a few people short the one week, they took to social media and I volunteered along with some others to help fill in for their regular crew.
That is the beauty of social media. It can easily be used as a source of crowd-funding. Because often people have the resources or the time or the skills or the spare bedroom or the lying-around-lawnmower or surfboard and all you have to do is ask.
WHEN SOCIAL MEDIA ROCKS
My wife and I have had people loan us a car for a few days and another time for a couple of weeks. We have found camping gear and a braai and use of a surfboard and a whole lot of books.
But even better than that is when I can use Social Media to call out a request or need for a friend. Someone is studying and needs a textbook or a house burned down and we are looking to help the family get on their feet again or a couple are about to get married and could use a photographer or a cake maker and so on…
A lot of people have the impression that Social Media is evil and it can be.
A lot of people have the impressions that Social Media is good and it can be.
The bottom line is that your Facebook and Twitter, your Instagram and YouTube plus all the new ones that come out every couple of weeks or months are simply tools. They are not inherently good or evil. But they can all be used for either.
Which leaves us with the question: How intentional and active are you at using your social networks for good?
Whether that means connecting with people who might be lonely or celebrating people’s birthdays who live far away; whether that is by sharing helpful article and video resources that you have stumbled upon or by group-funding a worthy cause or project; or a whole host of other things.
How about you? What are some of the ways you have seen or experienced Social Media being used well to encourage or uplift or fund or grow? Share some stories in the comments below.