- Social Media
- Active Citizenship
- Good Giving
- Corporate Responsibility
- Be Fearless
In her post, Are We Still Bowling Alone?, Jocelyn Harmon poses the questions: "Will online communities help to rebuild our faith and trust in each other? Better yet, will online communities help us to build the social and financial capital we need to change the world?" We're so glad that Joecelyn notes programs like America's Giving Challenge, with its experimentation in using social media to encourage giving, are making headway in answering this question positively, and after this year's BlogWorld, I am convinced the answer to Jocelyn's questions are a resounding yes.
She also goes on to say in her post:
It's true, there may never be a better substitute for in-person organizing. Face-to-face meetings fulfill a basic human need for connection and will always be central to helping us come together to learn about and care for one other. But newer online tools may be just the complement we need to rebuild and galvanize our American spirit of advocacy, volunteerism and giving.
BlogWorld and New Media Expo is an industry-wide conference that has historically left the nonprofit sector out. However this year, Cause Media Group, eBay, and PayPal came together to create a Cause/Activism track, and, it's due time they did! For instance, when I tweeted about this prior to the conference, here's one of the responses I got:
@Michael_Hoffman: Now I wish I was going to BlogWorld. I was there last year, didn't find too much of our kind of stuff, let me know what u find
The Cause/Activism track sessions were fantastic; check out JD Lasica's recap of a session he moderated on Social Brite and Chris Noble of Cause Media Group's Twitter stream for live reporting from the sessions.The integration of this track into conference is a coup in itself, Even more impressive was the cross-industry, cross-sector representation of people involved in these sessions - from large corporations like PayPal and Ebay, to nonprofit representation by organizations like Architecture for Humanity and Alex's Lemonade Stand, to creators of innovative social media campaigns like Amanda Rose/Twestival and Drew Olanoff/Blame Drew's Cancer.
But, the broader conference itself and everyone's support and participation in adopting "beating cancer" as its cause through Beat Cancer Everywhere is what truly shows the progress made in how newer online tools are complementing our offline ability to impact our nation's spirit of giving, volunteerism and civic engagement. For a 24 hour period, real people at the conference - including Don Lemon of CNN and Chris Brogan - encouraged their communities and networks through social media and other online methods to promote the hashtag #BeatCancer to raise money (1 cent per hashtag use donated by eBay, PayPal and Miller Lite) and set a Guinness World Record for social media mentions. By the end of the 24 hour period, the record was set and others were joining in to up the ante and contribute more dollars.
To go back to Jocelyn's questions, I think examples like this are true evidence that online connections are helping to strengthen our communities and mobilize people to take action and make an impact. I look forward to tracking what others think and look forward to other ways causes will be integrated in the mainstream and how online communities and tools will further amplify our personal connections, voices and progress in social good.