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Using Social Media for a Good Cause

Social media is a two-way communication stream; it’s a constant conversation. Unfortunately, social media platforms continue to be a stomping ground for online trolls to turn situations into negative ones, but, people’s reactions are helping to put a positive spin on them, while bringing to light serious issues which need to be addressed.

Susan Carland, an Australian Muslim woman, an academic, and wife to media presenter Waleed Aly, has been targeted with hate-tweets and social media trolling. The online flow of distasteful communication prompted her to donate $1 AUD for every hate-tweet she received to UNICEF. She has donated over $1,000 AUD and her response has been widely reported on as ‘inspiring’ and is running with the hashtag #Equalityforall. Her actions are a direct example of how something ugly on social media can be turned into a good cause.

Elsewhere on social media, women around the world who are able to claim engineering as their chosen career are running with the hashtag #ILookLikeAnEngineer, which again stemmed from social media commentary. It was prompted by a woman who is an engineer, after she was featured in a recruitment advertisement for the company she works for. Many who partook in the online chatter were debating whether a woman who looks as she does was a true representation of women working in that field. So, Isis Wegner, the young female engineer from the recruitment ad, wrote a blog post about it, and she writes, “This industry’s culture fosters an unconscious lack of sensitivity towards those who do not fit a certain mould”. Stemming from all of this, a website has been developed which enables people in the profession to continue to share experiences relating to diversity issues in tech, and the hashtag is still running strong! Again, this is another example of how a social media tool (the infamous hashtag) is being used to highlight a movement for a good cause.

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Most recently Facebook itself took a step in the direction of using social media for a good cause. As most of you will be aware, on Friday night, the 13th of November, in Paris, 129 people were killed in seven separate attacks. As people sought safe havens from the streets, Facebook implemented a ‘safety-check’ where people could check-in as ‘safe’ as the events unfolded. However, the move has received some criticism for not being implemented elsewhere, particularly in Beirut, where over 40 people were killed in bomb attacks one day earlier. In the past, the safety check-in feature had only been available in the wake of natural disasters.

Social media is a two-way communication stream; it’s a constant conversation, and like conversations in face-to-face situations, or over the phone, negative views, biases and opinions can sometimes come up. As we can see, it is our ability to face these issues positively which can turn them around. We are reminded of this time and again such as when good causes, like the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, sweep the Internet and social media, with feel-good actions while addressing a serious issue. If you’re a small business owner, align your brand with a charity or good cause which you can contribute to or associate with. If you want to learn further tips and advice as to how you can positively use social media, check out the SponsoredLinX Blog and Optimise eCentre for useful articles.