In today’s world, social media is a huge part of everyday life for most people. It allows for communication across continents with the simple click of a button. While many believe that social media imposes a negative impact on society, it is undeniable that this new means of communication can lead to extraordinary change. Here are five examples of social media fighting global poverty.
5 Examples of Social Media Fighting Global Poverty
- Joshua’s Heart Foundation is an organization using social media to tackle global poverty. Joshua Williams created the organization at the age of 4. By reaching out to his fellow youth through Facebook and Instagram, Joshua and his organization have raised more than $1 million toward ending hunger across the globe. The organization has nearly 12,500 followers on Facebook as well as 2,200 followers on Twitter, proving that a strong social media following allows for the opportunity to make an immense change.
- GlobalCitizen.org is an online community dedicated to raising awareness and inciting users to fight global poverty. The website encourages Internet users to learn more about extreme poverty on its website. When followers get involved, they earn real-life rewards such as concert tickets for doing so. In its 10 years of existence, GlobalCitizen.org has cultivated a $48.4 billion commitment to aid the world’s poor. The website continues to grow as a social media platform, contributing heavily to the fight against extreme poverty. It aims to bring an end to the issue by 2030.
- #TweetsGiving was one of the earliest movements to use a social media website such as Twitter to fight global poverty and raise funds for a good cause. In 2008, the web-based organization Epic Change encouraged Twitter users everywhere to express their thanks. The hashtag “TweetsGiving” soon became the number one trending topic on Twitter. Participating users raised more than $11,000 as a way of honoring what they were grateful for. The money went to building a classroom in Tanzania, which included a wall displaying the Twitter handle of each donor. The #TweetsGiving movement has continued every year since its origin, accumulating more than $100,000 in donations. These donations have resulted in the development of schools, libraries and homes for disabled veterans in Tanzania, Nepal and the U.S.
- One Day Without Shoes is an Instagram campaign created by Toms Shoes, a Californian shoe company known for donating a pair of shoes to impoverished children for each pair sold. The campaign uses social media as a platform to fight global poverty by encouraging users to spend a day not wearing shoes. Users take photos documenting their experience and post them to Instagram with the hashtag “WithoutShoes.” It incited a movement that has resulted in people everywhere experiencing firsthand how difficult life can be when lacking an amenity often taken for granted. For every photo posted and tagged #WithoutShoes, Toms Shoes donates a pair of shoes to a child in need. As a result, Tom’s has given 100,000 shoes to youth living in poverty across 10 countries.
- #MealForShare was an Instagram trend that Colombian food bank ABACO generated in 2014 to draw attention to Colombia’s poverty issue. ABACO fabricated dozens of Instagram accounts through which the foodbank posted photos with the hashtag #MealForShare to display the devastating reality of poverty in Colombia. The posts featured rotten products as well as food dug out from the trash. Each meal featured in the posts was available for metaphorical purchase, prompting users to donate their chosen amount to ABACO. The trend contributed 185 tons of food to poor populations in Colombia.
From reward-granting websites to trending hashtags, there are countless ways that social media can provoke change when used as a tool for raising awareness. The Internet is now a major part of everyday life for people all over the world. This means everyone has the opportunity to join movements already in existence. They also have the chance to begin their own campaigns against global poverty, changing the world one click at a time.
– Harley Goebel