Just recently I signed up to join the Black Dog Ride- an initiative to help raise awareness of, and money for, depression, particularly among men. In August, a bunch of us are embarking on a week long motorbike ride to the Red Centre- all in the name of removing the stigma that is so often associated with sufferers of depression.
But that’s not what this blog post is about- I don’t want to seem like I’m tooting my own motorbike horn or anything. What fascinates me is how my involvement in such a fantastic cause came about- it’s all thanks to social media.
The use of social media as a medium to promote social change is growing rapidly, and I have found, in my own experience, that it is a remarkably effective way to promote a social cause to a wide and diverse audience.
My personal experience began with a Twitter connection of mine, Tony Hollingsworth ( @hollingsworth ), tweeting about the upcoming ride. That’s all it took to grab my attention. I contacted him (via Twitter) enquiring about the ride and the rest, as they say, is history.
The same can be said for not-for-profit organisations making use of social media- like the RSPCA. Following the now infamous Four Corners animal cruelty episode, the RSPCA tweeted links to sign petitions and constantly refreshed their feed with news articles related to the issue.
Social media is everywhere now- it cannot be avoided. The ways it can be used to influence social change are limitless. With social media comes the ability to constantly update people with new content- be it a new petition to sign, a new cause to get involved in or a new donation to be made.
That is not to say that traditional forms of media are not doing a good job in terms of social change and awareness. Social media, however, can advance that awareness in a domain that is more ‘public’ in the sense that anyone can have a say and participate- it is an ongoing conversation. Twitter is ideal for people who want to share their views on a particular cause and find other like-minded people supporting similar charities to them.
If you would like to support the Black Dog Ride, you can do so here http://www.everydayhero.com.au/michaelfieldcom