I hate to say it, but summer is quickly coming to an end. You may not realize it with such record heat, but it’s about that time to sharpen your pencils, dust off those textbooks, and head back to school.
As a result, this week we are introducing “Back to School Yourself in Social Good” – a new Armchair Advocates series featuring all the basics, lessons and resources in using social media for social good. Whether you are an elementary learner or an expert professor in the topic, we hope you find value in this refresher on all things “social good”.
I suppose it’s only appropriate to begin then with the fundamental question “what is social good?”
[Frankly – I hated when professors asked this question when they started their first day of class. “What is history?” they would say. What do you mean, what is history? History is history! But alas, I proceed similarly with the same deep thoughts – what is social good?]
Traditionally, we could define “social good” as an action or item that benefits society. For example, education, potable water or even access to services such as healthcare. The term implies a positive impact – on an individual or society as a whole.
This buzz word has gotten even trendier over the past few years (in lieu of ‘common good,’ ‘charity,’ ‘philanthropy’ and the like) due to the popularity of the word “social.” It seems everyone has gone “social” since the invention of social media. As a result, today the traditional definition of “social good” has broadened to encompass a “shareable” sentiment. Doing good can be just as share-worthy as sending a Tweet or texting a friends.
So what is using “social media for social good”? We suggest it is creating a positive societal impact using the vehicle of social media. Facebook, Twitter, blogs, Pinterest – all of these tools can be employed to advocate, educate or fundraise for a cause.
Why does this matter? Seems pretty self-explanatory, right?
It matters because it means that anyone — an individual, company, government or organization – can be a change agent using social media to create social good. Nonprofits and/or governments are no longer the only sole driver of a cause. Anyone with access to a mobile or mouse can organize an impactful campaign.
[Of course, using “social media for social good” is not without its share of critics (i.e. the role of “slacktivism” or simply “self-promotion” rather than creating true systemic change) But we’ll cover that later this week.]
What does social good mean to you? How are you using social media to further your social good goals?
Over the next couple weeks, as part of our “Back to School Yourself in Social Good” series, we’ll be sharing with you the experts, basics, strategies, and – yes — even homework, on how you can better use social media for social good. We’ll be covering topics like cause marketing, corporate responsibility and leading trends in online fundraising.
In the meantime, check out two other great articles on the definition of social good here: