Altruism in Social Media

13 Nov

When examining advertising it is impossible to ignore the massive influence that social media has. People are able to follow what brands are doing and are able to have a two-way conversation. Social media is only going to continue to grow, and I would like to see it use the power of communication and networking for social change. It has been done to some degree. Take the Pepsi Refresh Project, or the Presidential campaign for Barack Obama. These relied on a two-way conversation. And yes, a black democratic president is monumental achievement, but one that can not be fully attributed to the powers of social media. What if we channeled the constant discussion and conversation to be brainstorming solutions to huge problems, or uniting segregated groups of people? The possibilities that this amazing network of people hold are limitless.

On Edward Boches ‘creativity unbound’ blog he predicts five things that social media will do to help charitable causes.

1. All donating will be social.

Boches thinks that you will no longer write a check, but donate on a social networking site for the charitable organization. This allows people to network around a common cause and to talk to the organization directly.


2.     Companies will use donations as an innovative marketing technique

“This is the coolest marketing idea I heard all week.  Imagine that “Big Bank” wants to attract young customers — college-age kids.  When a Gen Yer opens an account with BB, the bank sends him a $5.00 credit every month that he can donate to any charity he wants. He goes to a website, picks a worthy organization that suits him, and makes his donation. In the process he learns about causes, develops empathy and, of course, becomes a loyal customer of the bank that’s doing such an amazingly good deed. And all the bank did was shift some of its already designated charitable contributions from corporate decision making to its customers.”

I never thought of a company doing this but it is smart. Being a college-age kid, I would rather have a company sincerely care about a certain cause and organization. It seems more genuine and less like a $5 ploy to make you like their company.


3.     We’ll all have donor profiles

This is brilliant and goes along with the whole concept of social media. People will be able to broadcast their altruistic efforts with a donor profile that will show which causes a person donates to. It is kind of sad, but people love to do good things and then talk about it. I would much rather have people talk about their donations than what they ate for lunch.


4.     Individuals will become fundraisers

With social media, anyone can promote a cause and gain a following. The only problem I see with this is people abusing this and creating causes that aren’t real, or fraud.


5.     We’ll all be more aware of those in need

We will have a greater awareness of causes and all the people that are in need.  There already is a website that strives to connect people with charitable causes at
I think that charities need to team up with already present social media. A separate website just for charities will not work, because it will be full of people that are already actively participating in charities. It needs to be something that gets those that are not involved to recognize the problems. It also needs to be easy, people are lazy. Soon, I think social media will turn into a marketplace to purchase things. If with the press of a button, a user could donate to a charity and it was published on their site that they did, it would be a success. Boches didn’t mention celebrities or companies, but using social media and celebrity endorsements would be an easy way to get more people to get involved.


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