Turning Social Media Into Action
Turning Social Media Into Action: Article Written by: Eliot Mannoia.
How to get from social media to social enterprise and action was the discussion on Wednesday’s GlobalNet21 meet-up. GlobalNet21 organises events based on themes which are most prevalent in the 21st Century such as climate change, equality and human rights. For each given area key speakers are selected, these are individuals who are either professionals in the field and offer practical insights, or academics who contribute with theoretical perspectives.
Andy Gibson is the founder and director of the innovation consultancy Sociability. He is also the co-founder of “education 2.0?, School of Everything (which won both a New Statesman New Media Award and a Prime Minister’s Catalyst Award in 2008) and founder of the “5-a-day for your mind” campaign Mindapples. In 2009 he co-authored his first book, Social by Social, a practical guide to using social technologies for social good, and in 2010 published a follow-up policy pamphlet, Local by Social, a guide to digital innovation in local authorities for NESTA and the IDeA.
Andy shared his ideas on his latest project Mindapples, which is a social media tool to aid mental health issues in the UK. Just like the “five a day” fruit and vegetable principle, participants are asked to list five things which make them happy each day. This is then shared in an effort to communicate effective ways to improve mental well being. The project is picking up traction with the NHS and it is now only a question of quantitatively proving that there is a measurable benefit.
Senake Atureliya started Pie Finance which enables individuals with social entrepreneurial ideas to realise and market them. Services and goods that are needed can be obtained with no upfront costs, as providers agree to get paid once the business turns a profit. This gets the ball rolling and creates jobs which is why local communities are very interested in this innovative approach.
A reoccurring theme throughout the event was how to engage local communities, and more importantly how to convert the power of social media into social action. There are several entrepreneurs, such as the ones mentioned above, that are coming up with novel and interesting ways to do just that. In a district in Barcelona a local community website was set-up to offer residents the opportunity to voice any issues they had such as broken street lamps etc. The local council noticed that often other residents would fix these problems way before the council even set out to do it themselves.
The internet has flattened the hierarchies that exist between organisations and individuals. I booked a holiday recently and initially was going to go to a really posh great looking resort, which offered unbelievably good rates. After checking some (really bad) reviews however I realised why the rates were that good. Through websites like Trip Advisor I came across a little family run hotel with raving reviews. The big hotel lost, and the little family run hotel won. I think this quite nicely illustrates the power that even small businesses, communities and individuals can have using social media platforms such as blogs, forums and similar.
Blog articles by GlobalNet21 is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at 21st-centurynetwork.com.