Social media for social good has been theme at lot of conferences I’ve attended and I totally understand why.
Social media is such an amazing tool for non-profits and charities. Once they have a grasp on how to use social media themselves the power to spread their messages at low cost can be incredible!
I’ve decided that once a month I am going to pick a cause and promote it for that month. Whatever the cause is, it will require a minor contribution (under $10, I’m aiming for ~$5) to take part. Why? Because realistically it’s hard for me to invest a lot right now (as I’m sure it is for others) but more importantly a small donation isn’t as hard to commit to. I can donate $5 without having to think about it. We want immediate action.
This past week I was at a conference called She’s Connected where they challenged us to buy a stove.
In Sri Lanka many women have no stoves and have to cook over a fire. They have to search for fire wood daily, often taking them out into dangerous areas that still have unactivated landmines in the fields.
For $5 donated to the World Food Programme they will give a woman a stove. These stoves will also be produced within the country, creating more jobs. I donated $5 buying one stove. ($5 - that’s a latte?)
You can pay using paypal (link on the left) meaning the process is pretty easy and painless (having to stop and find my wallet and credit card and proceed has stopped me from donating to charities in the past. I know it’s lazy, but it’s true).
What you can do
- donate. You can buy more than one stove if you want :)
- I need an official name for this series and a blog button. If you want to help me with either I will credit you in all subsequent posts
- spread the word. Tweet, Facebook, google+, linked in, blog and email it out. Wouldn’t it be great if we could get 50-100 stoves donated??
- let me know if you donated. It’s not a requirement, but I’d love to know!
Twitter has a reputation… one for being a place that people talk about the details of their lives… to excess.
“Why would I care what anyone had for lunch? I don’t have time for that!?”
My argument is “I totally care” and here’s why:
The Internet is huge but the majority of the people I tweet with are in the same city, or at least province as me. If they have lunch at a great restaurant and they tweet it, I now know about that great restaurant. It’s nice to know.
There are an enormous amount of us, at all times, Internet or not, who are trying to be healthier. Tweet out a healthy lunch, share your ideas, trade recipe ideas. So many of us are always struggling without our meal plans, it’s useful to know.
Sharing details of your life make you seem like a real person. You may talk about social media, photography, law or anything else most of the time, but telling me that you never expected to love pickled eggplants on your pastrami sandwich just made you a real person to me. Being a real person makes you someone I won’t feel intimidated responding to. Being comfortable responding to you makes you more likely to become part of my online community. Online community is gold.
Don’t think I’m advocating incessant tweeting about every last detail of your life, but next time someone says “Nobody cares what I had for lunch” or “nothing I would have to say would be of value” maybe this will make you realize that just isn’t true!
Recently I posted for the 5000th time on Twitter. (Yes, I’m a complete Twitter toddler compared to most of you.) When I began my blog, Twitter wasn’t even really a consideration – I thought I might use it for self-promotion, and that’s about it.
Well, it’s become a lot more than that to me in the past eleven months. I’ve met some pretty cool people online, from new bloggers to blogless users who have me laughing so hard with every tweet, to well-respected writers who’ve graciously taken the time to guide me through social media and help me to improve my work.
The biggest things Twitter’s taught me so far?
- Trending is a lot tougher than it looks. I don’t know how the Biebs does it every.freaking.day. While #slooping is a worldwide problem that needs to be addressed, for the life of me I can’t seem to get it to trend. (Got kids? It’s sleep pooping. Maybe you can help me out.)
- Tweets should be about quality, not quantity. No one really cares what you do all day, unless it’s hilarious.
- Twitter is far more laid-back than Facebook. Strange, considering that on Facebook we’re laying our real names on the line. In 140 characters it’s a lot easier to say “live and let live” than to engage in a cat fight.
- There are some really neat Aussie people out there. I can connect with people from all around the world whose tweets pleasantly surprise me in the mornings as they’re heading to bed.
- We all have the same questions, fears and rants in life. Any question I ask Twitter is promptly answered by someone who’s been there. It’s not quite Google, but it’s got more personality.
- Klout is pretty unimportant, depending on what your goals are. For the longest time I was influential in avocado and Oreos, after having precisely one (short) Twitter convo about each. I want to enjoy the time I spend online, not worry that if I don’t engage the right number of influencers that my score will go down.
- Back up your blog. Often. Each week I see at least two people in my stream freaking over how they’ve been hacked. Change your online passwords regularly, and make them all different.
- RSVP carefully. Experience has taught me to choose my Twitter parties wisely. A chat that teaches me an applicable skill means a lot more than one where a bazillion women are panting for one shiny gadget… though I do like shiny gadgets.
- Doing what works for you is ultimately the way to proceed (and succeed). Twitter allows everyone an equal say, and for every successful rule-follower you’ll find a rule-breaker who’s just as successful.
A year ago I never saw myself becoming a Twitter user, yet here I am. I’m learning every day about technology, business, blogging and life in general. I haven’t used the phrase “online friends”, but there’s something that I get from my fellow Twitter users that’s as helpful and encouraging to my personal growth as my real-life people are.
That alone has made Twitter time well spent.
(Lindsey Graham (@dashingly) is a SAHM to nearly four kids aged four and under, and writes about the insanity that molds her daily existence at Campfire Song.)