MSVU Social Media Course Blog

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Don’t let the applications get the best of you

I was surprised to notice the subject matter of recent posts on the Buzz Bin, as it relates directly to my previous post about participation in online activism and the question of whether or not social media can really create an impact. In the most recent post on the Buzz Bin, Livingston discusses the Causes application on Facebook and puts a new spin on the old phrase “guns don’t kill people, people kill people”. The main point of his post is that it’s the people behind social media that drive it, not the tools themselves. Along with that is the idea of quality over quantity. While Facebook Causes may recruit large numbers of passive, Livingston maintains that small amounts of active participants are the ones that will in the end make a difference.

Livingston actually used his birthday as a way to raise funds for the Clean Energy Coalition with a goal of raising at least $500 for the cause. On the eve of his birthday he raised $452, which increased the amount of donations by 50% in only two weeks. Way to go Geoff! He goes on to make the point that had more people done the same thing, even more money would be made which would substantially impact the organization. Livingston concludes his post with a great comment “Social media that involves commitments works best when people drive the initiatives as opposed to software programs”.

It’s very interesting to think about how we as a society may feel like we have lost control, when really; a single person can drive social media and really make a difference. An example of this could be media queen Perez Hilton. He frequently posts “worthwhile cause” posts, which help to promote certain charities and efforts. Imagine how much money he could raise for these efforts if he set fundraising goals like the one Livingston did. This just goes to show the importance of never forgetting about the initiative behind the cause, and not just the tool we see and use frequently.

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June 1, 2009 - Posted by | Review of Monitored Site

1 Comment »

  1. Awesome post Sarah! I hadn’t ever thought of any of the cause applications on Facebook to be useful, but your post shows an entirely new perspective.

    I knew that Perez Hilton promoted certain charities every so often, and that a mere mention on his blog could result in thousands of dollars in donations. That is pretty powerful stuff.

    I really liked when you said that it’s the people behing social media that are the force, not the tools themselves. I think that’s an important thing to keep in mind in our world of ever changing technology. In the end, it is still people we are dealing with online, whether it’s through Twitter, Second Life, Facebook or whatever… the end result is still the same, person to person communication.

    Comment by Nicole Veitch | June 1, 2009 | Reply


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