Specifically, Clay focuses on how the amateurization of media through Twitter, Facebook and text messaging helps citizens in repressive regimes to report on what’s happening, bypassing censors unless the government shuts off the Internet spigot entirely. The end of top-down control of news is changing the nature of politics and ending the era of government control.
Guest post by Josh Catone
Social media is about connecting people and providing the tools necessary to have a conversation. That global conversation is an extremely powerful platform for spreading information and awareness about social causes and issues. That’s one of the reasons charities can benefit so greatly from being active on social media channels. But you can also do a lot to help your favorite charity or causes you are passionate about through social media.
Below is a list of 10 ways you can use social media to show your support for issues that are important to you. If you can think of any other ways to help charities via social web tools, please add them in the comments. If you’d like to retweet this post or take the conversation to Twitter or FriendFeed, please use the hashtag #10Ways.
1. Write a Blog Post
Blogging is one of the easiest ways you can help a charity or cause you feel passionate about. Almost everyone has an outlet for blogging these days — whether that means a site running WordPress, an account at LiveJournal, or a blog on MySpace or Facebook. By writing about issues you’re passionate about, you’re helping to spread awareness among your social circle. Because your friends or readers already trust you, what you say is influential.
Recently, a group of green bloggers banded together to raise individual $1 donations from their readers. The beneficiaries included Sustainable Harvest, Kiva, Healthy Child, Healthy World, Environmental Working Group, and Water for People. The blog-driven campaign included voting to determine how the funds would be distributed between the charities. You can read about the results here.
You should also consider taking part in Blog Action Day, a once a year event in which thousands of blogs pledge to write at least one post about a specific social cause (last year it was fighting poverty). Blog Action Day will be on October 15 this year.
2. Share Stories with Friends
Another way to spread awareness among your social graph is to share links to blog posts and news articles via sites like Twitter, Facebook, Delicious, Digg, and even through email. Your network of friends is likely interested in what you have to say, so you have influence wherever you’ve gathered a social network.
You’ll be doing charities you support a great service when you share links to their campaigns, or to articles about causes you care about.
3. Follow Charities on Social Networks
In addition to sharing links to articles about issues you come across, you should also follow charities you support on the social networks where they are active. By increasing the size of their social graph, you’re increasing the size of their reach. When your charities tweet or post information about a campaign or a cause, statistics or a link to a good article, consider retweeting that post on Twitter, liking it on Facebook, or blogging about it.
Following charities on social media sites is a great way to keep in the loop and get updates, and it’s a great way to help the charity increase its reach by spreading information to your friends and followers.
You can follow the Summer of Social Good Charities:
Oxfam America (Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, Flickr, YouTube)
The Humane Society (Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, MySpace, Flickr)
LIVESTRONG (Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, YouTube, Flickr)
WWF (Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Flickr)
4. Support Causes on Awareness Hubs
Another way you can show your support for the charities you care about is to rally around them on awareness hubs like Change.org, Care2, or the Facebook Causes application. These are social networks or applications specifically built with non-profits in mind. They offer special tools and opportunities for charities to spread awareness of issues, take action, and raise money.
And for good reason:
Facebook is one of the largest social media sites on the web:
- More than 200 million active users
- More than 100 million users log on to Facebook at least once each day
- More than two-thirds of Facebook users are outside of college
- The fastest growing demographic is 35 and older
And their users are very active:
- Average user has 120 friends on the site
- More than 4 billion minutes are spent on Facebook each day
- More than 30 million users update their statuses daily
- More than 6 million users become fans of Pages each day
Hubspot, an Internet marketing company in Cambridge, Mass., recently published a free book for businesses looking to use Facebook.
I was curious how useful How to Use Facebook for Business would be for my typical nonprofit client, so I downloaded it (no email required!) and read through the 22-page guide.
This blog has a Creative Commons license. Why? Because I want people to know that I expect them to share things they find interesting, or to help further the conversation but that in sharing, others need to keep the content free, too. Because Creative Commons licenses help creators, sharers, and readers enjoy online content respectfully. So, when I saw that Creative Commons released a version of the licensing and an application for Facebook, I had to check it out!
“CC licenses enable anyone to specify to the public how they want their work to be used. If you’re a photographer, you might be happy to let someone use your photos so long as they give you credit. CC licenses make it easier to be clear about how you want your content used.
The Creative Commons License application allows users to choose one of the six Creative Commons licenses to apply to the content they upload to Facebook.”
Why use Creative Commons in Facebook?
You may be licensing your blog posts or website content under a CC license, like I do (you can see the license information in the right hand column). Maybe you use Flickr and share your photos there under a CC license as well. Why, because you want others to know they can share or post your cool photos so long as they give attribution (or any other stipulated criteria you’ve set via the licensing options).
Facebook has a great deal of content you are creating, uploading, posting, and sharing. Why not license that as well so that your Flickr photos and your Facebook photos are both included. So that your blog posts and your status messages are both licensed.
Managing many social media sites can be a bit challenging for the non-profit that has little time and/or resources. Many social media sites, including Facebook, recognize this fact. They also know that social media is increasingly being used for fundraising.
To make managing multiple sites easier, Facebook allows you to post your social media activities on Twitter by posting tweets directly from your Facebook page (and visa versa).
How to link your Twitter and Facebook profiles
After you log into your Facebook account, follow these steps:
1. Search for “Twitter” in Facebook’s search field: