The other day I received an email from across the globe posing an interesting question regarding social networking. I was asked if I had any good examples of Corporate Volunteering programs utilizing social media to drive awareness and build an army of supporters and evangelists for a cause. I began preparing a response and searching for some good examples from Facebook, Change.org, DevelopmentCrossing.com, and BusinessFightsPoverty.com, to name a few.
Meanwhile the best and most obvious answer had just arrived. Literally.
Today my little town of Toronto welcomed David Plouffe, the mastermind behind Barack Obama 2.0 – the best example of utilizing social media for a cause – ever.
Plouffe is here speaking to the Economic Club of Toronto. In his remarks, Plouffe reminded the audience that 13 million people signed up to the campaign’s email distribution list. Of that number, 3.1 million contributed $700 million to Obama’s war chest. This online army of enthusiasts represents almost 20% of those who swept Obama and his Change We Need mandate into the Oval Office.
Democracy, as we have come to accept it, may be about to be transformed forever.
Centrist Democrats may have to learn how to deal with a galvanized electorate. Will the armies of the Internet force members of Congress to retool careers that were built on cultivating politics as usual?
Will pundits find their role as media filter bypassed by Obama’s direct outreach to Americans?
Washington lobbyists could have to calculate how much the corporate campaign contributions that they bundle have declined in value. After all, how do they do business in the face of a movement that is not theirs to influence?
Jay Dunn, a flack for the PR firm FD Americas, told Bloomberg news service that in the wake of Obama’s election, lobbyists will have “to be part of a larger strategy” that includes “a much more assertive grassroots community outreach.” In other words, in order to counter Obama’s netroots, K Street will have to manufacture grassroots — what is known in the PR industry as “Astroturf organizing.”
Is social media an effective platform to raise awareness, mobilize millions, and effect permanent change?
But you have to understand why it works first. Follow the link for more on this discussion.