I’m always looking for ways to unlock the potential of new media and technology to make the world a better place, and how to translate that potential into action, and this past weekend’s Social Good Summit was no exception to help me think about how to spread my social good wings. With the growth of social media use, it’s amazing how people can come together to toot its horn to help people. The CEO of Ericsson estimated that 80% of the world will have access to 3G mobile by 2017 and there will be 50 billion connected devices by 2020.
As much as I love social media and appreciate the professional growth and opportunities it’s brought me, if I could promote and talk about social good all day, I would. Advocacy is an important part of my work. I’ve contributed to the ABC Million Mom Campaign and the ONE Moms mission. Earlier this year, I spearheaded two very successful fundraising campaigns for St. Jude Hospital and Room to Grow. I’m currently working closely with Save the Children and Room to Read to expand their social media efforts.
To say that the summit was inspiring is a bit of an understatement. Just take a look at who kicked it off:
I loved when she said, “We’re living in a time where anyone can be a diplomat. All you have to do is hit send.” That really resonated with me.
Then Kathy Clavin CEO of the United Nations Foundation and Helen Clarke, Administrator, United Nations Development Program stressed the significance of social media, calling us all “citizen media”. They said that we have the potential to alter social change in health, crisis prevention, education and finance. Digital solutions are truly saving lives.
And then the examples began of just how social media is saving lives. Jill Sheffield from Women Deliver, talked about how one woman dies every minute and a half due to maternity complications and how powerful words are in helping them. There is more money being spent on family planning as a result of social good, and it’s a fact that’s been proven. She said, “Thirteen hundred agencies signed up to a commitment with the international Planned Parenthood Association — I don’t think 1300 anything has ever signed up for something before.”
We also learned about the new Shot@Life app which will help mothers not only record those special moments in a child’s life but provide information and reminders on their health needs. Shot@Life’s goal is to protect children from preventable diseases and you should download their new app today.
There were discussions on mobile phones’ role in public health and news of how the WWE is launching an anti-malaria campaign Nothing But Nets (it was weird to see two WWE female wrestlers promoting social good on stage).
When word got out that my all time favorite performer, Peter Gabriel, would be a participant, I assumed he would be singing, but instead he joined a session on Internet Freedom. I ran to the front row and sat in the best seat in the house, taking in his every word. He said he believes that connectivity has caused humanity evolve. “It’s now a place of awareness and empathy, where people can recognize their own experiences in the lives of others, share their own stories and ultimately create change,” he said.
My love for Peter Gabriel is so great that I actually had tickets to his Jones Beach concert last night and loved the way he brought social consciousness into his show. He brought out the husband and daughter of one of the imprisoned members of Pussy Riot to talk about their upcoming appeal and sang about apartheid in “Biko”.
Today I was happy to be invited to a luncheon hosted by Save the Children, who were also big players at the summit, to talk about “How Healthcare Workers are Saving the Lives of Women and Children” at the Harvard Club. Frontline health workers, including community health workers and midwives, are often the only link to health care for children living beyond the reach of hospitals and clinics in developing countries. I heard from physicians, heads of organizations that cater to sub-Sahara countries and members of the Johnson & Johnson and Save the Children staffs. It was the perfect way to end a few inspiring days.
Where to go from here? After I digest all this new information, I’ll let you know. I do know that it’s all in the words. Those I have.