My new mission in the online world is actually ridiculously easy. I want to inspire people to use social media for social good. That means I can sit on my tush, sip a cup of coffee, and type. I wouldn’t have a lot to talk about if there weren’t people out there doing real things that are amazing, motivational, and inspirational, however. A lot of these people and groups are already using social media, if not as the core of their efforts than certainly to supplement what they are doing.
So, here are some people and organizations that really inspire me to do more to help make the world a better place. I hope you take the time to read up on what these amazing people are doing!
Founded by the glorious Estrella Rosenberg, Big Love Little Hearts has one key mission statement – end infant deaths caused by congenital heart disease. What I have learned from Estrella is that one of the most tragic aspects of congenital heart disease in infants is that preventative medicine and more education could be enough to save kids’ lives. She lobbies relentlessly to pass bills that would enable doctors, nurses, and parents to get better education about this disease, but more than that, her organization works to raise money to fund operations for children all around the world.
I found out about Mark Horvath and his organization, Invisible People, via Chris Brogan about a year ago. With a past that includes hard drug use and near suicide, Mark Horvath now spends his time and efforts giving a voice to the homeless. He travels around the country and around the world videotaping testimonials of people who are living in the streets. He gives them not just a name and a voice but a story. He is making homelessness personal for everyone, one person at a time. Watch a few of his videos and see if you are not inspired.
The online world stands firmly behind The Blue Campaign, an effort to give a voice to the many millions of refugees in the world. It is easy to knock the idea of refugees out of our heads. We hear about refugee camps all of the time. In war, after natural disasters, all you hear about are people stuck in refugee camps, facing disease, emotional trauma, and more. The Blue Key Campaign keeps these people around the world front-of-mind. By the way, now is a great time to pledge $5 and get your own blue key!
I’ve already told you about Luma Mufleh and her amazing story, but in case you missed it, let me repeat it (because it’s worth it!). Luma Mufleh was born in Jordan and moved to the US to go to college. She got a job in a town outside Atlanta. One day, she took a wrong turn and came upon an apartment complex where shoeless children were playing soccer. After winning her way into the game by providing a new soccer ball, Luma discovered that the children were all refugees. They were extremely poor, some were nearly starving, and the educational system was letting them down. Luma took it upon herself to start a Fugee School, and now she is raising money to create a Fugee Village, where the children will be able to have a safe place to grow up and learn.
Here is what happens when you are on the path that you are meant to be on. I have become, how can I say, addicted to Breaking Bad, the television show, so as I tend to do these days, I decided to look for the actors and actresses on Twitter so that I could fangirl at them and say, “OMG I LOVE YOU!” Well, as fate would have it, Aaron Paul, the fella who plays Jesse Pinkman, is on Twitter. As fate would also have it, he was tweeting on behalf of a fundraiser for a group called the Kind Campaign (#BeKind). Intrigued, I checked out what this was all about, and it is really stunning. Watching the trailer of the documentary behind the campaign will be worth more than anything I say here, but the general idea is that the Kind Campaign is targeting the bullying that goes on between girls. It’s a niche problem, but we have seen the tragic effects this kind of bullying can have.
These are just five groups doing amazing things to help improve the world, and we can all use social media to help them out. Who would you add to this list?