The prominence of technology in the millennial person’s life remains noteworthy. With the introduction of social media such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Tumblr, to name a few, there are countless platforms for global interaction. From transnational marketing campaigns to communal events, social media has set a benchmark whereby information travels across the World Wide Web. Safe to say, these podiums have been subject to life-altering events over the course of the past few years. Governments and NGO’s alike have propelled campaigns and ideas across social media to create awareness and revoke public reactions. The manner in which effective social media has taken the generic populaces by storm is truly revolutionary. Technology has equipped the unheard majority with an opportunity to voice their concerns about issues that affect health, lifestyle and the environment.
All of us have either heard of or taken part in viral social media campaigns that have reverberated as driving forces to creating a better world. Social media is out to target positive reform at the roots of society by creating evocative responses from the public. Now, we are more capable of cumulative change than twenty years ago. Whether it is to uplift a brand image or raise funds for a social cause, social media has done it all. These efforts have impacted billions worldwide.
The dawn of the 21st century could not be more optimistic for those who are out to make a difference in the world. Here are the success stories of instances where technology inspired social change. Here is how social causes went viral on pop media to inspire successful impact, changing lives by generating a singularity in consciousness amid diversity.
The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge:
Lou Gehrig’s disease, termed ALS is a condition that affects nerve cells, the brain and causes drastic consequences to those affected. In August 2014, the ALS ice bucket challenge went viral on social media to promote awareness for ALS research, a disease that has no cure. The challenges required people to film and post a video of dumping cold water over their heads and nominate others to take up the challenge within a 24-hour frame. With celebrities and notable officials taking part in the challenge, it was only a matter of time before close to 20 million videos went viral on social media, contributing to the cause. Bill Gates and Geroge W. Bush were among those who took the ALS ice bucket challenge to social media. The response to the campaign favourably rose over $115 million for ALS research, exhibiting the compassion that humanity can pursue to help those severely affected. Besides creating awareness of ALS, social media served as the footstool to aiding research while creating a sense of unity.
#WaterIsLife presented the #FirstWorldProblems Campaign for clean water:
Water is Life, a non-profit organization aims to bring clean water to lesser developed and developing nations. Initiated in 2007, today they have helped bring clean water to people who live in remote villages across the world. By stressing on the differing approaches people have towards having clean water, with the #FirstWorldProblems hashtag, Water is Life managed to capture the hearts of millions. Social media played the vital role in carrying their incentive through the global platform, eventually creating awareness about clean water and provoking action towards improving the water crisis the world faces. With the #FirstWorldProblems hashtag, when people voiced concerns over minor inconveniences, it was retorted with life-threatening realities that many in other parts of the world face. By raising millions of dollars, Water is Life is the perfect example of the prominence of technology when it comes to positive change.
At the peak of 2016, the internet went bonkers over the Mannequin challenge videos that went viral. The posts on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram featured an internet video trend where people appeared motionless usually with “Black Beatles” by Rae Sremmurd playing in the background. The challenge received worldwide acclamation as notable sports persons and celebrities took part by creating videos to go with the popular #MannequinChallenge. Most recently, as part of the feature film “Black in Blue,” sequences of such motionless videos were recorded, shedding light on the ‘Black Lives Matter’ campaign targeting racial prejudice. This powerful campaign surely remains as one of the most creative viral social media challenges till date.
Lots of people face challenges with sexual orientation and commonly when it comes to love. LGBT rights have been debated topics for centuries, often resulting unfavourable outcomes. The Love Wins campaign that went viral on the web was a showcase of acceptance, celebrating legislations passed to acknowledge LGBT rights in several countries. As on-going protests pave the way to equal rights in some of the other countries, this campaign is a stepping stone stressing on love and liberty. By embracing free-thought, #LoveWins is an expression of the freedom of choice. With many attractive filters and tweaks on social media, the campaign picked up the pace in celebrating the triumph of love over bureaucracy.
The words “me too” are fresh in our memory as we just entered into 2018. As a silence breaker against sexual harassment, the #MeToo campaign has taken social media by storm. Celebrities have joined in on the social cause to promote awareness and take a stand against sexual harassment and prejudice globally. With millions of people rising to the occasion and voicing their stories about the harm of gender inequality, the campaign set fire to the media world. Conveying the magnitude of sexual prejudice, the social cause is trending on every social media site. Starting out as a hashtag, the campaign has evolved into a supporting cry against sexual harassment exposing offenders and instilling newfound confidence for victims. Public figures worldwide have honoured the noble intentions of this controversial campaign, voicing concerns. Most recently, with Oprah Winfrey’s speech at the 75th Golden Globe Awards, she shook the world with tough words against sexual prejudice, equal pay, honouring the strength of a woman. The campaign has served as a say for millions and helped transform hardened ideologies in industries that turn a blind eye towards sexual prejudice.
Social media has once again penetrated the minds of populaces, encouraging change and expressing genuine concerns. Ignorance can no longer be justified by the claim, “I was not aware.” United by the common ideals of love and humanity, technology continues to inspire social change. Even if reality becomes harsher, there will be a glimmer of hope that reveals potent human endeavours that refurbish hope.