and why it's changing social activism for the better
To get attention for a cause, is it more effective to sit on the couch with your laptop or get out and start a movement on the street? Recent studies and statistics suggest that the former may be the more powerful method to get support for social causes. The exasperated efforts of street protesters may now be in vain as social media speaks to exponentially broader demographics, populations, and geographies than do ultra-localized ground campaigns, which at most generate limited media coverage. The secret is in the widespread user base of these social networks such as not only Facebook and Twitter but Tumblr and Pinterest as well.
Social cause marketers have carved out a promotional hub on these networks by being able to cost-effectively broadcast news and spread awareness for causes. Not only are posts disseminated to readerships across the globe, virality factors in heavily as users retweet, share, or like content of these social cause marketers. If worded correctly and broadcast at the right time to the right demographic, a single tweet can have ten times the effect as a street campaign, which not only requires labor but additional planning in terms of optimizing media coverage. This relatively barrier-free deployment of information has induced a significant trend in the general populace, as indicated by the infographic in this post.
Socially responsible products are no longer highly localized or demographic-specific; consumers around the world have begun to embrace causes as a result of the dissemination of news on behalf of these social organizations. The adhesive bonds of traditional marketing are gradually peeling away as creativity, innovation, and consumer-interaction are beginning to play significant roles in social cause marketing. Nowadays, these organizations go beyond seeking a certain number of retweets or shares; they seek to engage consumers in activities that push their content to the top. On a local scale, this can equate to a city cutting off usage of all electronics for an hour. On a global scale, however, this can result in large regions of the world abandoning electronics and ultimately shaping global media coverage and highlights on a specific cause.
Social causes are no longer the outlier; they are the norm. With the introduction of marketing to social media, marketers have been able to inconspicuously encourage consumers to push relevant content to the top. On a grander scale, the phenomenon has effects as displayed on the infographic and has led to the development of a fundamental character archetype, the slacktivist. The slacktivist is an individual who cares, but doesn't care to get up. He sits at the computer and engages in the efforts of social marketers to spread word of causes, and as a result of the social networks he leverages, he ultimately produces a much more dramatic and significant effect than if he had gone out to the street to start a word-of-mouth campaign.
Whether you are an activist or a slacktivist, the importance of supporting these social causes cannot be undermined. By collectively supporting these organizations and spreading awareness of situations occurring around the world, we're together in making the world a better place.