From Gaming To Protesting, Social Media For Social Change Reigned In 2011
The year 2011 undoubtedly saw its fair share of tragedy and strife. From colossal natural disasters in Asia and the United States to riots in the United Kingdom to a depressing global economy, lives have been lost and hopes have been tarnished. However, this year may go down in history as the point in time when the world fell apart, while learning how to put itself back together. In spite of all the turmoil that has transpired, 2011 has ushered in significant social change. Below are some of the top social good trends of the year, in no particular order.
Crowdsourcing and Crowdfunding
When the world cries, the crowd rises to come to its aid. The 8.9 magnitude earthquake that rocked Japan and triggered a tragic tsunami reportedly killed 19,000 people in March. The devastation sparked a tremendous outpouring of microphilanthropy campaigns made possible through crowdfunding platforms. Within two hours of the event, the site sinsai.info/ushahidi was built to help in the search for survivors and provide information about safe locations and danger zones. The charity-driven website Crowdrise helped launch 60 different crowdfunding campaigns for relief efforts in Japan.
According to Search Engine Watch, #Japan was the fifth most tweeted hashtag this year.
Social Games for Social Good
Digital activism donned a new twist when video games designed to instigate social good garnered attention from mainstream media this year. Facebook games ranging from WeTopia, which enables players to donate to charity by building virtual villages, to the children’s hospital fundraising game Hospitopia, are empowering users to have a positive social impact on the real world.
Justin Bieber joined the WeTopia crusade last week, which means the game is destined for social media fame.
The art of leveraging entertainment and online engagement for social good through gaming is a full-on mission for the nonprofit Games for Change, which creates and distributes digital games to benefit humanity. We expect to see more games like WeTopia and more organizations like Games for Change gain traction in 2012.
Teaching Social Enterprise
As Generation Y seeks out brands and businesses with purpose, the demand for social enterprise education continues to increase among higher education institutions. The convergence of capitalism and activism is growing in all parts of the world, and more and more consumers and entrepreneurs are focused on building companies focused on the triple bottom line, meaning people, planet and profit. Columbia Business School, Harvard Business School, and the Stanford Graduate School for Business are just a few places that are making social innovation and sustainability a core study for enterprising leaders of the future.
Here’s an animated summary of the concept of social enterprise. This video was produced by the Social Enterprise Coalition.
Online and Offline Protests Organized Via Social Media
Protests for democracy in the Arab world began with the Arab Spring in late 2010 and took over the globe and social media streams in 2011. Civil unrest over poor treatment by authorities and human rights violations ultimately triggered independent movements across the Middle East and North Africa. Revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt and a civil war in Libya led to the resignation of political leaders and the fall of governments. At the core of each demonstration, protesters harnessed social media to galvanize offline action in the face of repression.
Months later, Occupy Wall Street took over Twitter and Facebook. Online organization was and still is key for the movement. Facebook pages have been created for every major participating city. Countless videos of demonstrations has been livestreamed and posted on YouTube. In October, protesters raised $6,000 through a Loudsauce crowdfunding campaign to make a commercial explaining their goals.
It doesn’t stop there. This week, Occupy activists announced that they’re developing their own social network called The Global Square.