Social Media Strategy

Putting the Social in Social Good

Putting the Social in Social Good

Illustration by Joelle Leung

Guest post. Harrison Kratz is the Community Manager at MBA@UNC, the new online MBA degree program from the University of North Carolina. Harrison sticks to his entrepreneurial roots as the founder of the global social good campaign, Tweet Drive.

Like anything in social media, the need for evolution comes pretty fast and furious. Time and time again, we become enamored with the latest trend, buzz word, or tools and focus on it incessantly until something else comes along or that topic isn’t just no longer bright and shiny, it’s just dull. Being a “social entrepreneur,” it worries me that Social Good is approaching that saturated status.

While it is inspiring to hear all of these different causes and advocates under the umbrella of social good, I feel that often we misunderstand the meaning of social good. While everything remains in good spirits and rarely absent of good intentions, I think there are a few issues to be addressed and solutions that will keep social good on a healthy track and continue to be an engine for positive change not only throughout the world but throughout the social media atmosphere.

Social Good is More Than a Twitter Campaign

Yes, Twitter campaigns have raised millions of dollars for causes around the world and will continue to do so, but a social good campaign is much more than “For every tweet with said hashtag, so and so will donate a dollar.”

Social good is about a social impact that enhances the life of a cause or agenda in addition to just raising money.

Yes having people donate in the form of tweets is great, but we need to start thinking outside the box and understand how we can use these tools to – as Jay says it – not just have social but to be social throughout the cause.

Social Good Cannot Stay Online

I founded Tweet Drive, a social good campaign that brings together social media communities around the world to collect toys for children during the holiday season. When I started this in 2010, I envisioned a campaign where everything would be done through Twitter and our online presence would be the measure of success.

Over 4,000 toys later, we’ve realized that the social in this social good campaign didn’t really mean Twitter and Facebook. It meant bringing together people in real life to meet their social communities and participate in giving back during the holidays.

Yes, we may start online, but to make a difference and understand what it is to be social, we have to understand our success isn’t measured in followers but the change we inspire through these tools.

Social Good Isn’t Simply Charity Work

Most people think that social good means charity work in the digital space. I disagree. Social good is the process of using social media and and social-focused communities to create a positive impact on your surrounding environment. Paying it forward through digital, if you will.

This can mean mentoring young professionals or students. From my experience with MBA@UNC, it can also be changing the way we receive our education. Social good is filling a void by using your social tools and voice to solve a problem or improve the lives of others – that extends much further than generalized philanthropy.

Take Social Good Beyond the Buzzword

Social Good is on a tipping point where it could become much more than a buzzword and a mainstay in our daily lives or it can remain a buzzword and lose momentum because rather than a lasting idea it stays a digital trend. It is up to us to evolve social good to the concepts that we use every day when being social through our brands and businesses, to ensure that it continues to evolve and bring social communities together both and online and off.

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  1. Ethos3 says

    Really compelling article that drives home some great points. Social good really is so much more than facebook and twitter. It’s about making a difference with, through, and for others.

    • says

      @Ethos3 So true! there is world beyond these medias and some of the campaigns are really helping the community out there. Even My company has been indulging in the activities before I became a bestselling author and long before Inc Magazine voted my company as one of the fastest growing companies. We understand out social responsibilty and are committed towards it. I hope other companies also take such initiative

  2. Paul Dunn says

    You are right on — it is about EMBEDDING the giving as opposed to using it to drive marketing campaigns. Only by making this stuff a habit and embedding it at the very core of companies can we truly make the impact needed.

    See as an example.

    Well done harrison. Keep it coming!!! (You too Jay)

  3. StefWeddell says

    I find this post interesting in that it exemplifies how in contemporary society social media is the driving force behind philanthropy and generosity. It can be said that this is a positive thing that prompts more people to do more good. However, as suggested in this blog, this does not enhance the growth of philanthropic causes and can actually been seen as a detriment in that people are no longer out and participating in their communities.

    That being said, I would also like to point out that it is still possible that our society has taken a step forward in the realm of philanthropy and social good due to the fact that giving and raising awareness of the disadvantaged is seen as a virtue in the social media and online community. Yes these causes might only amount to passing trends, but the fact that a philanthropic cause is a trend reflects the value that the public places on giving and raising awareness. I am studying for my Masters in communication and it one of my books on ethics, Communication Ethics Literacy (2008), the authors discuss the promotion and protection of a “good” or value. By tweeting and facebooking about a cause, the public is engaging in communication practices that protect and promote a “good” that they believe in. The good is not a particular organization or cause but rather the good of philanthropy.

    The challenge now is to bring this good back into the real communities and not solely in the online ones.

  4. JudyCaroll1 says

    This is great. Let’s stop seeing social media as another “channel” to advertise our stuff. Being out there means to share, to help, to interact and to constantly add value to the community. All the best, Judy.

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