May 26 2009
Questioning our basic assumptions about social media for social change: Are campaigns like these making a difference? There are some jaded people out there (see Joe Solomon’s post). I’m sorry to see social media evangelists like Raul falling into this camp, but I can sympathize with the problems they bring up. Heck, I’m a bit jaded myself.
Contributors to this discussion have already hit on my own thoughts.
1. Social Media (Twitter, blogs, Facebook, etc) is not a panacea. It is an enabler, but you still have to do the work of engaging influencers, the media, government, corporations, whatever, if you want to get something done. For many social media evangelists, time/budget are still hurdles to getting the work done effectively. Must re-focus.
2. Like Raul says, you get what you give. I’ve definitely been less active on the scene in helping others with their causes than I could have been, so response to my own social media efforts of late has been lackluster. This conversation is a much-needed kick in the ass.
3. Focus on the real world goals that are measurable (awareness = number of media hits, fundraising = dollar amounts) and on the effects (ie. the actual social change that comes about as a result of these efforts).
I recognize these challenges, but it’s time to get back on the horn. Phew.