Social Media Day shows how powerful online communication can be in 2014.
Monday, June 30, is officially Social Media Day.
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So what is Social Media Day and what's the point? Mashable says the day started out "as a way to recognize the digital revolution happening right before our eyes. Each year, thousands of people organize hundreds of meetups across the globe." The idea’s to combine social communication with meetups—to create a digital connection into a closer bond.
And in the past five years, Social Media Day's been gaining serious ground in world communication. On June 18, Mashable added a collection of U.S. cities joining the party. Included were Tampa (Florida), Las Vegas (Nevada), Charleston (S. Carolina), and Addison (Texas).
Even more surprising were the state sign ups. Governors Nathan Deal, Rick Snyder and Brian Sandoval officially registered the day into Georgia, Michigan and Nevada. Not to mention the international addition of Kochi, India.
A study by Georgetown in 2011 shows that “the majority of Americans recognize the value of social media in facilitating visibility and support for causes.” Almost 6 out of 10 citizens “agree that online social networking sites allow people to support causes more easily” with 4 out of 10 finding “they can help get the word out through social networking sites.”
Often used pejoratively, slacktivism puts social change at the hands of millions and billions of people in the click of a button. A otherwise silent voice is given by signing petitions or signal boosting help when needed—especially immediately after a natural disaster, public emergency, or sudden political change (like ISIS).
Twitter's impact in the 2009 Iranian Green Revolution shows how deep the connection can be. It's a chance to instigate change through activism.
In fact, emergency personnel like police are on Twitter and Facebook because it's a faster reach. Anyone who followed the snow problems in Atlanta this winter saw how important the important, instant access.
Most recently Al Jazeera used #FreeAJStaff and #AJTrial to campaign for their journalists to not be convicted of trumped up charges. Sadly, it didn't work, so now the hashtags keep pressure on trying to stop the silencing of truth.
And on a less international scale, news is pushed out and promoted by journalist through hashtags.
If you want to see what other people are doing around the world, check #SMDay on Twitter.
What did 2014 do?
Well, The Hindu reports Kochi, India, had a special event centered on ‘social for an empowered tomorrow.' The idea is to explore the “effectiveness and innovation” of social media and what’s ”possible in the future.” Or s event-coordinator Manoj Thomas tells a staff reporter in "A day to celebrate social media."
And Charleston has asked citizens to say what the city means to them.
Patrick Phillips covers the story in “Social Media Campaign Encourages Lowcountry Residents to Spotlight Charleston.” CBS affiliate WCSC notes that Mayor Joe Riley wants the world know what who Charleston is beyond the news.
Riley embraces the “technological advancements that enable everyone to connect with real-time information and the revolution of media becoming social, to communicate from miles apart, and have their voices heard."
What else happened?
- USAID, the U.S. Government agency that works to eliminate global poverty, put out a primer called "Social Networking: A Guide to Strengthening Civil Society through Social Media" and the hashtag #SMGuide4CSO. It's a good beginner manual how to actively use social media for advocacy.
- Mashable discussed the #1Connection and the importance for social media users to "expand their networks by one in order to strengthen the worldwide social media community."
- Curaçao Cares hosted an event on how to to create social change.
- BioethxChat discussed mental health, suicide & ethics.
Social media plays a big part in collecting and dissecting issues, to bring in voice, to not back down from controversy.
Here’s to Social Media Day 2014 making noise and hopefully expanding even further in 2015.