An interesting study was just published last week about the role Social Media plays in generating awareness and support for causes and social issues. There’s some interesting information – though it focuses maybe too much on race and does not go into executional aspects – that touches on interaction with causes as extension of community.
The survey from Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide and Georgetown University’s Center for Social Impact Communication looks at participation tendencies across Caucasian, African-American and Hispanic communities. It focuses on acceptance of social media as an outlet or resource for sharing affiliation with causes, but really only points to the willingness to post items or even look at cause communications via social networks.
The percentages between the groups are slightly varied, but let’s forget about that for a moment. What would really be interesting is if someone were to take a look at causes and their digital outreach through a much larger spectrum. It doesn’t seem to take into consideration pleas from people to their friends via email to donate for a walk or event supporting a cause. It really just focuses on ones willingness to say they “Like” or associate with the community via posting images and the like.
As I would not donate or get involved via a social network (yet), I would via a more personal relationship like an email from someone I know.
The digital world has made it so much easier to get involved in so many ways – online donations, blogs, online journals, etc. The true magic is for organizations, causes, non-profits, etc. to program a whole strategy for digital – Social Networks, Outreach, Email, strong central system and database, strategic communications, timeliness, and on and on. There is nothing wrong with Likes, but then what does that alone lead to? Can it be based on partnerships with corporations who will donate based on the likes? Does the organization have the ability to mobilize awareness and action by leveraging a well-known product for a much liked cause (like the million trees planted in connection to the AVATAR release on Blu-ray and DVD?
There are so many ways to go fully social for a cause – just don’t settle for anything less than the whole.