Just as I had been thinking about how we can create movements online using social media, I got the daily Online Spin newsletter from MediaPost. Incidentally, Joe Marchese’s article was about leveraging utility and reach of social media to do good. The article is a great source of social networks set up by charities and celebrities to raise awareness and funds for worthy causes.
I agree with Joe wholeheartedly as he writes, “The greatest potential of social media lies in its ability to enable and encourage people to do good.” Who wouldn’t want to change the world with a click? Ok, maybe it takes more than a few clicks. But if we want to make a contribution to a charity, we no longer have to take out our checkbooks and empty out our coin jars. We can sign up for a cause and get a brand to make a donation on our behalf.
That’s the premise of Joe’s socially conscientious network, Social Vibe. I recently signed up for it. My initial goal was to check it out for this blog post, but I must admit I really got into it. I just entered a username, created a password and started sifting through the charities that were in Social Vibe’s catalogue. I could pick from a broad variety, ranging from education, environment and health to arts and culture — some categories are thinner than others, but that’s understandable since they are in beta. I was asked to pick a charity and then endorse a brand to help pay for the cause.
The process made me think of my values, what I wanted to stand for and how I wanted to present myself to the Social Vibe community and beyond. Fist I chose One Laptop Per Child, because I believe in education opening doors for disadvantaged children around the world. Laptops and Internet access can be the cohesive force in this process. Next, I looked through a bunch of brands and worried if they would cramp my style. I chose Powerbar to be the sponsor of my cause, not because I eat it regularly, but because I felt the brand had a clean reputation and offered a helpful product. Have I bought Powerbar in the past several years? No. Will I notice Powerbar in the grocery story and think of my cause? Yes. Will I think highly of the brand and recommend it to a friend looking for a snack before or after a rigorous work out? Yes. Because now, Powerbar and I are involved.
I couldn’t leave the site without picking Disaster Relief cause to help people affected by the recent natural disasters. I chose a brand that offered more dollars to match than others. I clipped it thinking I needed to start spreading word of mouth fast, while making as big of a contribution I could through the site.
You should give this a try…