There are few things more powerful than when people join together; a group of people with one common goal can achieve great things.
Social media has made it possible for people to easily find those with similar interests, organise themselves and make a difference.
Here are a few examples when people have used social media to do just that.
Martha Payne is a 9-year-old student at a school in Scotland with a keen interest in food and a skill for writing. She decided to combine her talents with her interests and set up a blog to document the quality and healthiness of her school’s cafeteria. The blog slowly grew in popularity and began to gain attention. However, in June 2012 Argyll and Bute council decided to ban photography in the cafeteria, due to Martha’s blog, and effectively shut it down.
When the story reached Twitter there was a public outcry. The social network was flooded with angry tweets to the council and supportive messages for Martha. After the story was reported on major news sites like the BBC the council backed down and rescinded the ban. The whole affair proved to be a blessing in disguise though as Martha had a fundraising section on her blog, which stood at only £500 before the media storm. It now stands at over £112,000.
BearLove Good. Cancer Bad.
The Oatmeal is a popular online comic with a large following across the web. In 2010 the author of the comic, Matthew Inman, noticed that many of his works started appearing without attribution on another website, FunnyJunk. After contacting FunnyJunk to no avail Inman decided to publish an article on his site, explaining to people the situation. For a year this was how things stayed, with FunnyJunk still publishing The Oatmeal’s comics without the author’s consent.
However, in June 2012 FunnyJunk’s lawyer attempted to sue The Oatmeal for $20,000, claiming damages to the site’s reputation. Lawyers and laymen alike laughed at the claim and ridiculed FunnyJunk. But instead of acknowledging the request Inman, with his inimitable sense of humour, decided to raise the $20,000, not to give to FunnyJunk but to give to the National Wildlife Federation and the American Cancer Society. The site’s many users supported Inman’s goal and began raising money, racking up over $220,000. Proving that good content, good humour and a good cause are great tools in raising money.
Summertime is a special time of the year for any child. The possibilities of what to do over the school holidays seem endless. 9-year-old Caine decided that what he wanted to do was create an arcade and with a few cardboard boxes he set about building one in his dad’s auto-repair shop.
Unfortunately, the shop didn’t get many customers and those who did enter the shop just breezed past him. One customer stopped and played though. Nirvan Mullick, who had stopped by to pick up some car parts, was so taken by Caine’s arcade that he decided to make a film about it. The film became a social media success and people from across the globe visited Caine’s arcade and a fund was set up to put him through college. The fund quickly smashed its target of $25,000 and now stands at over $200,000.
The London Marathon is one of the biggest fundraising events of the year. Thousands of runners take the 26 mile run not only to prove themselves but to also generate money for good causes. In 2012, Claire Squires, a 30-year-old hairdresser was one of the many runners, raising money for The Samaritans.
With only a mile left to run Claire collapsed and had to be treated by medical teams. She was then be taken to a hospital where, tragically, she was later pronounced dead. In memoriam to Claire tens thousands of people paid their respects by donating to herJustGiving page. Taking the amount raised from £500 to nearly £940,000.
The internet is a great tool for good, but unfortunately it’s not always used that way. Four teens in Rochester, NY, used it for ill deeds when they filmed themselves taunting 68-year-old Karen Klein on a bus, before uploading the video to YouTube. It wasn’t met with the response they expected though.
Instead of people mocking Karen, as the teens must have expected, people were sympathetic to her. A fundraising campaign was quickly put together to raise funds so that she could quit her job as a bus monitor and escape any further abuse. The $5,000 target was quickly surpassed and over $680,000 was raised. Karen also received letters of support from across the world and apologies from the boys who had put her through such emotional turmoil.
Karen has just announced her retirement and says that she’s interesting in volunteering for organisations who help people touched by bullying or suicide.