Technology in and of itself is no panacea for positive transformative change. It is the people who create the opportunities and who leverage these technologies for the betterment of society. Though still a work in progress, there are tons of charities and non-profit organizations who are working towards this.
Earlier this month, Red Cross hosted the Emergency Social Data Summit in Washington D.C., bringing together government agencies, humanitarian and disaster response organizations, and tech companies to address how technology can be used to respond more effectively during crisis situations. From the Red Cross blog:
"Social media has changed how people communicate, including their calls for help. Now, people Tweet, update Facebook statuses, and text about natural disasters. Emergency and disaster response organizations are working to develop a process to address this and harness the communication power of new media."
Tutus for Tanner originated when an influential blogger in Toronto, Catherine Conners, (HerBadMother.com), posted an entry telling the story of her nephew, Tanner, who suffers from Duchenne's Muscular Dystrophy. The blog post soon went viral and people began taking action and holding their own fundraisers for him. As a quick example, Scott Stratten (another big kahuna in the social media world) hosted and managed the #TutusforTanner tweet-a-thon auction, which called his 65,000+ followers to tweet about the contest and donate. He set out to raise $25,000 in just 30 hours and guess what? Over $29,000 were raised! Incredible stuff! Just goes to show the importance of having not just a large, but engaged following online.
crowdrise is the funky, hip, and hilarious web platform that brings together a community of online givers and volunteers. Here, anyone can start their own fundraising/volunteer projects or donate their time/money for the causes that they feel most passionate about. It makes giving in all shapes and forms so easy! Check out their website at www.crowdrise.com. If not to donate, at least to read their cheeky copywriting, which in itself deserves a prize of some sort!