Last Wednesday I was pleased to have been a part of the Tides Foundation Momentum Mixer which brought together top social media executives, nonprofit, and philanthropic leaders to talk about how social media is impacting social causes and the ways that the nonprofit sector is influencing new media. The event was standing room only and packed with social innovators, including a panel of key representatives from YouTube, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Zynga.
One of the evening’s highlights included stories from each company of how they have responded to users needs for social impact by improving their technology in this area. For example, with the increase of Smartphone video-use to document popular uprisings, YouTube has refined its video settings for the needs of activists by creating a face blurring option to protect the rights and anonymity of participants. In addition, they have made it easier to link petitions or causes pages to videos for more effective mobilization. LinkedIn responded to users needs by creating a “Volunteer” and “Causes” section available to people who increasingly wanted to make their social passions and involvement known.
It was valuable for our foundation to hear how each company is responding to the needs for social impact as we are encouraging more use of tech strategies for social justice organizing. We believe that advocacy campaigns can be strengthened through a combination of traditional organizing strategies and tech tools. We hope that future conversations on this topic will delve further into how philanthropy is using social media to support organized movements and encouraging thought leadership.