Social media – what’s the point?

Charities often measure campaigns’ success by the numbers – hits on webpages, total time spent on the site, and impressions of banner ads. But in a world where millions go hungry and the environment is crumbling, all that stuff is in fact pointless.

So what really matters?

The answer is of course – our charities’ missions.

Missing People’s recent campaign, the Big Tweet, was an outstanding example of social media activity that was the charity’s work in action. Retweet appeals for missing people – join the search. The very act of reading and retweeing was being part of theirf mission. And it was backed up with an interactive advert that, frankly, made me do a little cry.

Arguably, any campaign that spreads information is a worthy passenger on social media. That’s the founding principle of Invisible Children’s Kony 2012 campaign. The idea was that making the LRA warlord Joseph Kony “famous” will help track him down.

Then there was the inspiring #whatstigma movement, a deluge of disclosures about mental health on Twitter in an attempt to destigmatise it, prompted by actress Rebecca Front’s personal admission that she suffers from panic attacks.

Therefore, the future of charity social media is not simply as a vehicle for run-of-the-mill campaigns. The future will see social media use as the campaign itself. We will achieve charitable missions simply by taking part, by talking, sharing and spreading. Then social media will be a vehicle for real impact – not just another broadcast channel.

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