News and Events

Published on May 12th, 2009 | by Max Gladwell

10 Ways to Change the World through Social Media

Citizen journalism, open government, status updates, community building, information sharing, crowdsourcing, and the election of a President.

[Editor’s note: This is first guest post from Max Gladwell.]

Our children will inherit a world profoundly changed by the combination of technology and humanity that is social media. They’ll take for granted that their voices can be heard and that a social movement can be launched from their laptop. They’ll take for granted that they are connected and interconnected with hundreds of millions of people at any given moment. And they’ll take for granted that a black man is or was President of the United States.

What’s most profound is that these represent parts of a greater whole. They represent a shift in power from centralized institutions and organizations to the People they represent. It is the evolution of democracy by way of technology, and we are all better for it. For most of us, social media has changed our lives in some meaningful way. Collectively it is changing the world for good. Given the pace of innovation and adoption, change has become a constant. Every so often we find the need to stop and reflect on its most recent and noteworthy developments, hence the following list.

Please note this is not a top-10 list, nor are these listed in any particular order. It’s also incomplete. So we ask that you add to this conversation in the comments. If you’d like to Retweet this post or take the conversation to Twitter or FriendFeed, please use the hashtag #10Ways.

1. Take Social Actions: The nonprofit organization Social Actions aggregates “opportunities to make a difference from over 50 online platforms” through its unique API. It recently held the Change the Web Challenge contest in order to inspire the most innovative applications for that API. The Social Actions Interactive Map won the $5,000 first prize. The result is a virtual tour of the world through the lens of social action. “People are volunteering, donating, signing petitions, making loans and doing other social actions as we speak — all over the world. To capture the context of the where, this project uses sophisticated techniques to extract location information from full text paragraphs.” You can also join the Social Actions Community, which is powered by Ning…which now boasts more than one million individual social networks.

2. Twitter with a Purpose: This list could be exclusive to Twitter. The micro-blogging sensation was featured on our first two lists (a three-tweet), and it’s certain to be a fixture. From Tweetsgiving, the virtual Thanksgiving feast, to the Twestival, which organized 202 off-line events around the world to benefit charity: water, it’s become the de facto tool for organizing and taking action. Tweet Congress won the SXSW activism award, and celebrity Tweeps Ashton Kutcher and Kevin Rose Tweeted their two million followers about ending malaria. Max Gladwell recently initiated the #EcoMonday follow meme as a way to connect and organize the Green Twittersphere.

3. Visit White House 2.0: Inside of its first 100 days, the Obama administration has managed to set the historic benchmark for government transparency and accountability. The President’s virtual town hall meeting used WhiteHouse.gov to crowdsource questions from his 300 million constituents, complete with voting to determine the ones he’d have to answer. All told, 97,937 people submitted 103,978 questions and cast 1,782,650 votes. The White House continues to raise the bar with its official Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter channels. In so doing President Obama is not just setting the standard for state and local government in the U.S. He’s establishing the world standard. The Obama administration is spreading democracy not by force but through example. Because you don’t have to be an American citizen to be a friend or follower of White House 2.0.

4. Claim your Zumbox: What happens when all mail can be sent and delivered online to any street address in a paperless form? That’s the big question for Zumbox, which has created an online mail system with a digital mailbox for every U.S. street address. And while the answer to that question remains to be seen, it promises to be as liberating as it is disruptive. A key quality for Zumbox is that it’s closed system much like that of Facebook, only instead of true identity it’s true address. This will enable people to better connect with their communities including their neighbors, local businesses, and the mayor’s office. The primary agent of change, though, might not be that this uses street addresses but that it enables direct and potentially viral feedback, which is a virtue that e-mail and the USPS do not offer. The first methods are to request exclusive paperless delivery and to block a sender, but others are certain to evolve such as real-time commenting and ways to share mail with friends, family, and colleagues. Welcome to Mail 2.0. (Disclosure: Zumbox is a client of Rob Reed, the founder of Max Gladwell.)

5. Host a Social Media Event: This is the year of the social media event. No meaningful gathering of people is complete without an interactive online audience, especially when it’s so easy and cost effective to pull off. Essential tools include a broadband connection, laptop, video camera, projector, and screen. Add people and a purpose, such as entrepreneurship. Promote it through social media channels, and you have a social media event. A recent example in the green world is the Evolution of Green, which was hosted by Creative Citizen, a green wiki community. It celebrated the launch of a new Web property, EcoMatters, while also establishing a new Twitter tag. By posing the question, “How can we go from green hype to green habit?” and including the #GreenQ hashtag, it sparked a conversation between attendees and the Twittersphere in real time. Thus was born a new mechanism for getting answers to green questions via Twitter.

6. Travel the World: More than anyone else, Tim O’Reilly knows the potential for social media to change the world. In his opening keynote at this year’s Web 2.0 Expo, he called for a new ethic in which we do more with less and create more value than we capture. This provided the context for SalaamGarage founder Amanda Koster, whose presentation followed O’Reilly’s. The idea is that social media has enabled each of us to have an audience. Whether through Twitter, Flickr, YouTube, or a personal blog, each of us can have influence and reach. What’s more, it can be used for good. SalaamGarage coordinates trips for citizen journalists (that means you) to places like India and Vietnam in conjunction with non-government organizations like Seattle-based Peace Trees. The destination is the story, as these humanitarian journalists report on the people they meet and discoveries they make. Their words, images, and video are posted to the social web to gain exposure and because these stories just need to be told.

7. Build It on Drupal: You may not have noticed, but the open-source Drupal content management system (CMS) has quickly become the dominant player on the social web. While we still prefer WordPress as a strict blogging application, Drupal has emerged as the go-to platform for building scalable, community-driven Web sites. It powers Recovery.gov, a key part of President Obama’s commitment to transparency and accountability. PopRule uses it as a social news platform for politics. And Drupal will soon become the platform for Causecast, a site where “media, philanthropy, social networking, entertainment and education converge to serve a greater purpose.” This is especially significant because Causecast CEO Ryan Scott is transitioning the site off of Ruby on Rails because Drupal has proved more efficient, user friendly, and cost effective. (Disclosure: Max Gladwell founder Rob Reed is co-founder of PopRule.)

8. Green Your iPhone: Looking for an organic diner within biking distance that has a three-star green rating? There’s a app for that. It’s called 3rd Whale, and you can download it for free. (Except that the star rating is actually a whale rating.) Complete with Facebook Connect, this iPhone app locates green products and businesses in 30 major North American cities. It uses the iPhone’s dial function to select a category (food), sub-category (restaurants), and distance (walking, biking, or driving). In Santa Monica, this might give you Swingers diner for its selection of veggie and vegan fare. You could then get directions from your current location using the iPhone’s built-in Google map, rate your experience on the three-whale scale, and write up a quick review. 3rd Whale recently released a new feature that integrates green-living tips, which can show how much energy or waste you’ll save by taking a given action.

9. Unite the World Through Video: Matt’s dancing around the world video inspired many to tears. Today, more than 20 million people have viewed his YouTube masterpiece, where he performs a kooky dance with the citizens of planet earth. The most recent example of this approach is Playing for Change, which connects the world through song. The project started in Santa Monica with a street performance of the classic Stand By Me and expanded to New Orleans, New Mexico, France, Brazil, Italy, Venezuela, South Africa, Spain, and The Netherlands. The project was superbly executed via social media, complete with a YouTube channel, MySpace, Facebook, and Blog. It’s received tremendous mainstream media exposure and also benefits a foundation of the same name.

10. Rate a Company: The conversation about corporate social responsibility (CSR) takes place across the social web on blogs, Twitter, and YouTube, but a central hub for this information and opinion is still to be determined. SocialYell seeks to address this by building an online community around the CSR conversation, where users can submit reviews of companies together with nonprofit organizations and even public figures like Michelle Obama. The major topics are the Environment, Health, Social Equity, Consumer Advocacy, and Charity. The reviews are voted and commented on by the community in a Reddit-like fashion with both up (Yell) and down (shhh) voting. The site is relatively new and still gaining traction, but there’s no question that a resource like this is needed to shine a bright light on CSR and and other related issues.

11. Publish a collective, simultaneous blog post on a universal topic: As Nigel Tufnel might say, this list goes to eleven. Let the #10Ways conversation begin…

Final note: This is Max Gladwell’s third list of “10 Ways to Change the World Through Social Media.” The first was posted a year ago today on Sustainablog.org, and the sequel followed five months later. If a single headline can capture the Max Gladwell raison d’etre, this is it.

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,


About the Author



  • Nice list,

    I don’t see how Zumbox will solve the spam problem. Perhaps I should dig deeper before commenting on that.
    One item I would have included is simply WordPress. It easily allows anybody to be a respected publisher that can call out all sorts of issue. I knowyou have Drupal and it is equally good but the WordPress community is marvelous.

    Thanks

  • Bruce: We included WordPress within the Drupal way, and we agree that it’s the best blogging platform bar none.

    Zumbox enables you to block senders, which you cannot effectively do with email or USPS. It won’t “solve” the spam problem, but it will help to control it while also reducing the use of paper. But it will require coordinated support from people, companies, and government. It’s certainly not an easy task. Nothing worth doing ever is.

  • Pingback: On the 10 Ways Simultaneous Guest Post | Max Gladwell()

  • Hi i am kavin, its my first time to commenting anywhere,
    when i read this post i thought i could also make comment due to this sensible paragraph.

  • What’s Taking place i am new to this, I stumbled upon this I have discovered It positively helpful and it has aided me out loads. I hope to contribute & assist different users like its aided me. Good job.

  • Thanks designed for sharing such a good idea, paragraph is fastidious, thats why i have read it fully

  • Wonderful items from you, man. I’ve take into accout your stuff prior to and you’re simply too great.
    I actually like what you have acquired right here, certainly like what you are saying and the way in which by which you are saying it.

    You are making it entertaining and you still take care of to stay it sensible.
    I can’t wait to read much more from you. This is actually a wonderful web site.

  • Admiring the time and energy you put into your site and in depth information you present.
    It’s nice to come across a blog every once in a while that isn’t the same
    old rehashed information. Fantastic read! I’ve bookmarked your site and I’m adding your RSS feeds to my Google account.

  • This paragraph is actually a nice one it helps new the web users, who are wishing for blogging.

  • Thanks for finally talking about >10 Ways to Change the World through Social Media – Green Living Ideas
    <Loved it!

  • gnc

    Do you have a spam issue on this site; I also am a blogger, and I was wanting to
    know your situation; many of us have created some nice methods
    and we are looking to exchange solutions with other folks,
    please shoot me an e-mail if interested.

  • Kit

    You could definitely see your enthusiasm in the article you write.

    The arena hopes for even more passionate writers like you who aren’t afraid to say how they believe.
    Always follow your heart.

  • It’s not at all frequent train in order to connect economics with subway surfers triche.
    Usually, code triche subway surfers will be considered to don’t have any effect on our own financial
    situation, but presently there are in reality
    some results. Your gross sales industry associated with subway surfers triche is in reality
    a only two.

  • Hi to all, because I am really keen of reading this webpage’s post
    to be updated regularly. It consists of pleasant stuff.

  • As an alternative of Undertaking seduction.

    Here is my weblog: The Tao of Badass Review (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4BYXQzD6fy0)

  • If it is busy, flee!

    Also visit my web-site; old school new body download (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Eobd-RYIN78)

  • Everyone wants to lose weight, however conventional diet and
    weight loss can be difficult and time consuming.
    This might help you better decide whether this product is right for you.
    Also, by taking vitamins can also help to maintain the human body’s stability.

  • social empires triche incorporates a large purpose throughout National Tradition.
    Lots of people can often be observed involved in
    pursuits linked to social empires hack.

  • It’s not at all frequent training to be able to connect economics together with telecharger gta 5 gratuit.
    Commonly, telecharger gta 5 pc could well be considered to don’t have a relation to our own economic situation, although at
    this time there are in fact a number of outcomes.

  • Hello to all, how is all, I think every one is getting more from
    this website, and your views are good designed for new
    visitors.

  • I all the time emailed this web site post page to all my associates, as if like to read
    it then my links will too.

    Look at my page driver genius professional 14 crack

  • Hello there! I know this is kind of off topic but I was wondering which blog platform are you
    using for this site? I’m getting fed up of WordPress because I’ve had issues with hackers and I’m looking at alternatives for another platform.

    I would be great if you could point me in the direction of
    a good platform.

    Feel free to visit my web page … Survival Library

  • You must participate in a contest for amongst the
    most effective blogs on the internet. I will suggest this web
    site!

    my web-site – pills for men

  • Hello Dear, are you truly visiting this web page daily, if so afterward you will absolutely obtain pleasant know-how.

  • Thanks , I have just been searching for information approximately this subject for a while and yours is the best I’ve
    found out so far. However, what in regards to the conclusion?
    Are you certain concerning the source?

  • bookmarked!!, I like your site!

    Feel free to visit my site – 247 shop

  • This is really fascinating, You’re an excessively skilled blogger.
    I have joined your rss feed and stay up for in quest of more of your fantastic post.
    Additionally, I’ve shared your website in my social networks

    Feel free to surf to my web site – Babysitting Télécharger

  • You could definitely see your enthusiasm in the article you
    write. The arena hopes for more passionate writers such as you
    who aren’t afraid to mention how they believe. All the
    time go after your heart.

    Here is my weblog: Gloria Télécharger

  • Hello, I think your blog might be having browser compatibility
    issues. When I look at your website in Ie, it looks fine but when opening
    in Internet Explorer, it has some overlapping.
    I just wanted to give you a quick heads up! Other then that,
    great blog!

    Review my web site :: Blue Ruin Télécharger

  • If you want to obtain a great deal from this article then you have to apply such strategies to your won blog.

    my web blog Un Amour d’Hiver Télécharger

  • When some one searches for his vital thing, so he/she needs to be available that
    in detail, thus that thing is maintained over here.

    Feel free to surf to my homepage … L’Etudiant Télécharger

  • Have you ever considered creating an ebook or
    guest authoring on other blogs? I have a blog based upon on the same subjects you
    discuss and would love to have you share some stories/information.
    I know my viewers would enjoy your work. If you’re even remotely interested,
    feel free to shoot me an e mail.

    Also visit my site … La Pie Voleuse Télécharger

  • Wow! This blog looks exactly like my old one!

    It’s on a entirely different subject but it has pretty much the same layout and
    design. Superb choice of colors!

    Here is my webpage Le Piano Magique Film Télécharger

  • This is a topic that’s near to my heart… Cheers!
    Where are your contact details though?

    Feel free to visit my web page :: Je m’Appelle Hmmm Film Télécharger

  • You have made some good points there. I looked on
    the internet to find out more about the issue and found most people will
    go along with your views on this web site.

    My weblog: The Pretty One Film Télécharger

  • Hi there, after reading this remarkable piece of writing i am also delighted to share my knowledge here with mates.

    Here is my web page … Perfect Sisters Télécharger

  • No matter if some one searches for his vital thing, so he/she wants to be available that in detail, thus that thing is maintained over here.

    Feel free to surf to my blog post: Draft Day Télécharger

  • My spouse and I stumbled over here different page and thought
    I should check things out. I like what I see so i am just following you.
    Look forward to looking into your web page again.

    Feel free to visit my homepage: La Crème de la Crème Télécharger

  • It’s very simple to find out any matter on web as compared to textbooks, as I found this paragraph at this web page.

    Check out my website … Noah Film Télécharger

  • I’m not sure why but this web site is loading extremely slow for me.

    Is anyone else having this problem or is it a problem on my end?
    I’ll check back later and see if the problem still
    exists.

    Check out my blog Mauvaise Réponse Film Télécharger

  • Hi there! Quick question that’s completely off
    topic. Do you know how to make your site mobile friendly?
    My website looks weird when browsing from my apple iphone.
    I’m trying to find a template or plugin that might be able to correct this issue.
    If you have any recommendations, please share. Many thanks!

    my blog post: Odd Thomas Télécharger

  • Hello to all, the contents present at this web site are genuinely awesome for people knowledge, well, keep
    up the good work fellows.

    Feel free to visit my homepage :: The German Doctor Télécharger

  • Good day! I know this is kinda off topic but I was wondering if you knew where I could locate a captcha plugin
    for my comment form? I’m using the same blog platform
    as yours and I’m having difficulty finding one?
    Thanks a lot!

    my site: Only Lovers Left Alive Télécharger

  • What i do not realize is in truth how you are now not
    actually a lot more smartly-liked than you might be right now.
    You are very intelligent. You understand thus significantly in
    terms of this topic, produced me for my part believe it from so many numerous angles.
    Its like men and women are not interested except it’s something to accomplish with
    Lady gaga! Your own stuffs excellent. At all times handle it up!

    Here is my blog post – Le quepa sur la Vilni Télécharger

  • Thanks for finally talking about > Green Living Ideas | Keeping Green Ideas Simple and Down to Earth
    < Liked it!

    my web-site: Un Voyage Film Télécharger

  • Howdy! This is my first comment here so I just wanted to give
    a quick shout out and tell you I really enjoy reading through your blog posts.
    Can you suggest any other blogs/websites/forums that deal with the same topics?
    Thanks!

    Review my web site :: Salaud On T’Aime Télécharger

  • Hello! Someone in my Myspace group shared this site with us
    so I came to give it a look. I’m definitely loving the information.
    I’m bookmarking and will be tweeting this
    to my followers! Exceptional blog and outstanding style and
    design.

    Here is my site … The Right Kind of Wrong Télécharger

  • I’m impressed, I have to admit. Seldom do I come across a
    blog that’s both equally educative and interesting, and without
    a doubt, you’ve hit the nail on the head. The problem is
    an issue that too few folks are speaking intelligently about.
    I am very happy that I came across this in my search for something relating
    to this.

    Feel free to visit my web site: Les Bruits de Recife Film Télécharger

  • I loved as much as you’ll receive carried out right here. The
    sketch is attractive, your authored material stylish. nonetheless, you command get got an impatience over that you wish be delivering the following.
    unwell unquestionably come further formerly again since exactly the same nearly
    a lot often inside case you shield this hike.

    Stop by my weblog … Goal of the Dead 1ère mi-temps Télécharger

  • Appreciate this post. Let me try it out.

    Feel free to surf to my web blog – La Pie Voleuse Télécharger

  • What’s up Dear, are you truly visiting this site daily, if so then you will absolutely get fastidious knowledge.

    Stop by my homepage – The Returned Film Télécharger

  • Hello! This is my first comment here so I just wanted to give a quick shout out and say I genuinely enjoy reading through your posts.
    Can you suggest any other blogs/websites/forums that
    go over the same subjects? Thanks a ton!

    my page: Non-Stop Film Télécharger

  • Hello there, You’ve done a great job. I’ll definitely digg it
    and personally suggest to my friends. I am confident they’ll be benefited from this
    web site.

    Feel free to visit my webpage: Need For Speed Film Télécharger

  • If you want to obtain much from this article then you have to apply such techniques
    to your won blog.

    my web site; Easy Money Hard to Kill Télécharger

  • This piece of writing will assist the internet users for creating new website
    or even a blog from start to end.

    Here is my webpage :: Noah Télécharger

  • Yes! Finally someone writes about weight loss surgery.

  • Very descriptive post, I liked that a lot. Will
    there be a part 2?

  • Fastidious answers in return of this matter with genuine arguments and explaining all
    regarding that.

    Feel free to visit my web-site guide des mauvaises herbes de plus en plus

  • I need to to thank you for this wonderful
    read!! I certainly loved every bit of it. I have got you book-marked to check out new things you post…

    My website – cannabis cultivation

  • I’m not sure why but this website is loading incredibly slow for me.
    Is anyone else having this problem or is it a issue on my end?
    I’ll check back later on and see if the problem still exists.

    Review my weblog :: cannabis anbau

Back to Top ↑

Shares