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Charity Crowdsourcing Online: Can Social Media Make a Difference?

Charity Crowdsourcing Online: Can Social Media Make a Difference?

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Published by: Crowdsourcing.org on Apr 25, 2012
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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07/30/2013

 
Charity Crowdsourcing Online: Can SocialMedia Make a Difference?
By 
Social media has had mixed results when it comes to being wielded as atool for the greater good.Last year saw the Arab Spring, where revolutionaries credited Facebook and Twitter with giving them the means to unite their forces to toppleoppressive governments. It even reached the point where one Egyptiancouplenamed their child 
after Mark Zuckerberg’s social network (sounds a bit bizarre naming a child ‘Facebook’ but it’s probably a better name than ‘petrol bomb’ or ‘AK47’ or ‘NATO Air Strikes’ which were
also pretty crucial to the revolutionary efforts).
 
Then, last month we witnessed the spectacular public meltdown of JasonRussell, the man behind Kony 2012. After the initial positive reactionthe controversy surrounding the film lead to Russell committing 
which haven’t done wonders for his credibility. The viral power of 
social media can turn from positive to negative on a dime and JasonRussell now knows this all too well.So how do we go about using social media effectively to support a good
cause? Perhaps Russell’s mistake was to misread the nature of online
culture
 – 
despite living in a world where we practically worshipcelebrities we seem to object very strongly to anyone who tries to put
themselves in the limelight before they’ve ‘earned it’ (however the hellit is you do that). The objection to Russell’s film seems to have come, at
least in part, from his decision to put the filmmakers themselves at thecenter of the project. The online sphere is a place where socialconventions and politeness go to die. All the vitriol the audience feelstowards people who take themselves very seriously and are prone toself-promotion can manifest itself without the social filters that keep thepublic from hurling abuse in the offline world.Craig Newmark, the founder of Craigslist may have struck the rightbalance with a campaign to raise money for the National WildlifeFederation. Newmark haspledged to donate $1 for every follower he gains on Twitter and every use of the #Squirrels4Good on Facebook up
to one million dollars. It’s still early
days so it may be the case that this
 project crashes and burns like so many others (though I don’t expect, or 
hope, to see Newmark roaming the streets of San Diego in his underwearin the near future).

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