Monday, March 23, 2009

What does "Social Media For Social Good" Mean?

Photo copyright 2009 Brian Powell

Interesting dialogue about the difference between use of social media for charity fundraising vs. social media for deeper engagement and social change started by Beth Kanter on her blog "How Non-Profits Can Use Social Media" after her panel discussion at SXSW (South by Southwest) last week in Austin.

Here's my take that I posted in response:

Yes there probably is a distinction between fundraising and engagement that should be articulated whenever the term "social media for social good" is used. As for which one is better or more appropriate, I instead subscribe to the use of many tactics holistically woven together to tell an impactful story in a integrated marketing approach. However what I find most interesting in all this is the fervor of debate about this and similar topics within the cause marketing/non-profit marketing/social justice camps. If more NPOs, NGOs and other like minded organizations and individuals would start collaborating more instead of fighting over the same donors, corporate partners, and yes, terminology, we all could accomplish a lot more.

Sadly it seems at times we're more passionate about arguing abut the authenticity of a cause campaign, the legitimacy of a "new" proprietary methodology, the publishing of research, or the ownership of ideas – than actually using our gifts and talents to make a difference.

And to me that is the ultimate promise of social media in the social space. Enabling “bonds without borders” for impactful connections and sharing of ideals AND ideas.


scott levy said...

interesting post, great photo.

Thomas Matlack said...

Great question. I actually think social media is best used for both fundraising for good causes and deep dialogue about the same issues. But the discussion has to come first, then action will follow.

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