If you use Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, LinkedIn, Ning user sites, Meetup, YouTube, Flickr, or are reading this blog post, you are using Social Media, or online sites for social interaction and user-generated media. You can bet that people all over the world are using these sites to promote their philosophies and businesses, and often use social media for the unconscious proliferation of their cultural and political messages through seemingly meaningless chatter, and innocent posting of slick and attractive advertiser funded media. But can it be used to make positive change? I’m on a mission to try.
The numbers of people using social media, and their impacts on the relay of information and purchasing decisions are astounding. By 2010 Gen Y will outnumber Baby Boomers….96% of them have joined a social network. *
Bringing this down to how it affects you and me, the very fact that you are reading this
blog is a sign that one voice in a small town can get your attention, if only for a moment. (if you have read this far, I have captured your attention for longer than many social media sites suggest, and may also suggest that you still have an attention span longer than 140 characters). If you are reading this blog, you are probably looking for support, connection to the community and like-minded people, or for information that you don’t have time to go out and find for yourself. And you may even like to hear from me. The topics I choose to cover, the people and places I profile, and the ideas and information I share has some impact (albeit likely small) on your need for connectivity, your purchasing decisions, and possibly your offline communications.
Social media and user-generated content gives us all a chance to make change, and influence people, even when we have a $0 budget. Social media has such immense potential that Al Gore, MoveOn.org, The Daily Green, No Impact Man, TreeHugger, our local NY Times Dot Earth Writer Andrew Revkin, local writer and researcher Jim Motivalli from E/The Environmental Magazine, Michael Pollan, local writer Seth Leitman, author of MacMillan’s Green Guru Guides, are just a few using social media full speed ahead to make change, and level the playing field of social change that has yet to be taken over completely by corporate media.
How can you take this information, and other information that we gather, and use it to change people’s habits in relation to their effects on the sustainability of the planet? I’m on a mission to find out. I don’t have the answer, but am hopeful and want to share everything I learn. Join me in the journey.
1) JUMP IN: Sign up for a Facebook account and a Twitter account.
2) FOLLOW ME on Twitter @KatonahGreen and I’ll introduce you to Twitterers who will share great information with you on how to use social media. Just check out who I follow to get a prescreened list of good twitterers in the environment and social media fields.
3) SIGN UP for my blog by going to www.KatonahGreen.com and clicking on “Subscribe to KatonahGreen by email” on the left hand side of the page.
4) CHECK OUT ALL THE LINKS and see how they work. Check out the Meetup link, the YouTube videos, the Twitter updates, the sponsors links and the Blogroll. Open the links, comment on them, post the ones you like to your Facebook and Twitter accounts. Do the same with the blog posts.
This is just a start. Soon you will be refining your message (if you haven’t already) and finding your own way to get it out there.
Join me on October 25th for a Tweetup with David Mathison, author of Be The Media. Event details here.