Today we can change the world every time we put our hand in our pocket reaching for money.
Photo credit: Social media concept by Shutterstock
If we carefully select who we give this money too, we can have a tangible effect on which companies do better, improve their reputation and those which are going to have a hard time doing it.
But while in the real, physical world, those who have embraced this world-changing attitude, have had no problems in implementing it, few have realized that also in the online social sphere, we can personally boost and help tangibly those who we deem valuable of our attention and time.
Online, in the social media spaces like Facebook or Twitter or Google+, we do not often put our hands in our pockets to reach for money to spend there. Yes, sometimes we do it, by using our Paypal or credit card account numbers to pay and vote for products and services we like and want.
Most time on social media is not spent on making purchases, but on scanning and reading other people, news, personal stories, and discovering what they themselves have liked and shared.
So, all of my contacts and friends are leeways into helping me discover, appreciate and pay attention to issues, things and people that I may have otherwise not noticed or seen at all.
The unique and beautiful thing about social media, is that we do not have to buy, spend or invest any amount of real money to physically buy something to support our favorite change-agents represented by specific brands and people.
We only need to proactively like and share their work.
The Deeper Value of SharingThink about it for a moment. The click you have given to a story, an image or a video on Facebook that you really liked, is a way for that content to find more ways and more people who can be interested in it, especially if your network shares lots of your preferences and tastes. But, when I think about it, I realize how conservative I am in liking and sharing other people's work. I realize that I place my click only when the "thing" I see really fully resonates with me, to the point that I feel that I need to share it with others. And that's how most people go about it too. Perfectly normal. The key point is that we want to "like" and "share" only what we think is really great, cool, useful or valuable, and especially what we think will make us look good in other people eyes. But, this is not the only way. I have realized that I can use my power of liking and sharing content to directly help, boost the reach and visibility of people and brands I like and that I think need to be successful, because they do something good. In this light, I am not out there only to cast a high-quality vote exclusively on what I think it's really great, but I have at the same time the opportunity to pro-actively go out and help the people and small brands I want to see succeed by liking and sharing more of their contents. Not anymore with the exclusive idea that my "likes" and "shares" are for making me look good, but with the express conscious idea to give more visibility to those people and brands I want to see succeed.
Key Benefits (of "liking" and "sharing" people and brands you support)If you are still wondering why it would be such a great idea to spend a few more "likes" and "shares" daily, not just on funny and gorgeous posts you run into, but also to willingly help, support, and give more visibility to those people and brands you deem can contribute to improve, in some way or other, the world you live in, here are some very good reasons to do it:
- Things don't change just by wishing so - or by sharing funny pics - unless you give support to those who see the world the same way you would like it to be, you are not really doing anything to change the world around you.
- By consciously giving visibility and credit to those people and brands that do the things you like and want to support, you are helping those companies and people be found by others who don't know them yet.
- The more people see ideas and options that they may have not considered seriously before, the more likely that a number of them will seriously consider to adopt them.
- To help new ideas and ways of doing succeed, there's presently nothing more cost-effective than sharing them on social media and having thousands of others extending and personalizing that message in tens of different ways.
- Realize the power of the Internet, by giving support, visibility and credit to the people and brands that are doing what you think is appropriate, and providing them with tangible returns (visibility, trust, positive word-of-mouth) without having to spend a dime for it.
How ToHow do you go about doing this of proactive social support activity in your day-to-day online social media wanderings? How can you make a difference without superficially clicking and sharing stuff that's not really good? What changes you need to make to do this work? Here's my advice:
- Like and share not just what makes you look good, but also what others, you want to support and help, have shared that is significant for you as well.
- Be aware that a "like", that takes you nothing and that exposes you minimally, can mean a lot to those who receive it (more visibility for their post, more "social proof", confidence boost).
- Seek pro-actively those people and brands you really like and who are doing something tangible to change or improve how things are. Find one or more items you are willing to "like" or "share" and do so.
- Realize that you have unrealized power in your hands. By helping in a sustained fashion those people and brands that have demonstrated to not be just about words and promises but who do the things you want to see, you are tangibly helping those people and brands succeed.
- Support in particular, those people and brands that declare publicly what they stand for, and what they are against, and who are transparent, about their business and partnerships, who are open to constructive criticism, and who are actively listening to their supporters.
ConclusionsTo change the world, one thinks, it is an ambitious task, too big and too hard to be carried out by anyone in a realistic fashion. But, just as we have learned in recent years to vote the change we want through our wallets, by buying and supporting financially only those companies and organizations that match our ethics and ideals, so it is possible, to utilize the power of social media not just to read about the latest from your family and friends, but also to tangibly support and give help to those ideas, individuals and organizations that are already working in directions that can change the world in the way you would like it to be. You don't need to be the change yourself, but you need at least to actively support those who impersonate it. When browsing content on social media channels like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIN or Google+, one can go beyond simply "liking" and "sharing" content that will look good on one's own profile feed, and utilise the opportunity offered by these social platforms to curate and give visibility to authors, ideas, people and brands that match the goals, ideals one wants to see realised. By going beyond narcissistic social sharing, beyond being just mirrors and repeating antennas for the ideas and visuals that superficially resonate with us, one can utilise the power of the Internet to consciously help disseminate new ideas, and give tangible extra exposure to individuals and brands that are already doing something tangible to improve and realise your own very dreams. It's all possible, if you help it grow.
See also: Design for Sharing - We Are What We Share
Originally written and curated by Robin Good and first published on MasterNewMedia on Tuesday April 22nd 2014 as How To Change The World With Your Social Likes.
Photo credits: The Deeper Value of Sharing - Share sign by Shutterstock Key Benefits - Plus icon by Shutterstock How To - Step-by-step arrow by Shutterstock