This post is slightly different than many of the others in the past, where I’m reporting on PR 2.0 and the latest social media strategies internally and externally for an organization. This is a more personal post, because it’s how social media affects my own behavior as a consumer. I am clearly affected more by social media than any other form of communication, more than print advertisements, direct mail piece, TV commercials and radio spots. That’s not to say that when I see Sarah McLachlan’s commercial to end the cruelty and abuse of animals that I don’t get upset (because I do), but after an intense moment, I’m disconnected and the emotion subsides.
The opposite is true with social media and I’m learning and feeling this more every day. I’ve felt strongly for many different causes over the years, and, like most, I have a favorite cause (St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital which tugs at my heart strings). However, through social media I’m feeling very connected to an organization and campaign that I just recently learned about from a friend. Shonali Burke introduced me to USA for UNHCR, which is non-profit headquartered in Washington, D.C. The organization works to raise awareness of the international refugee crisis, and to raise funds. It’s a way for U.S. residents to show support for the millions of refugees around the world. I didn’t realize that at the end of 2009, almost 43.3 million people were “forcibly displaced worldwide,” due to conflict and persecution.
Yes, reading about the numbers was alarming but watching the videos of how different people were deeply affected by this issue really ignited a passion to help. For me, social media was the instant connection to a good cause. It’s the easiest way to keep me informed and makes me feel closer to this effort than most. Using social media for awareness and engagement led to emotion, passion and more action. I’ve joined the Blue Key Campaign as a Blue Key Champion to help get 6,000 US residents to sign up for their own symbolic Blue Key – a lovely $5 pin or pendant over the next few weeks leading up to World Refugee Day on June 20th.
Everyone is different, but here’s how USA for UNHCR continues to reach me and keeps me connected. The Blue Key Campaign has a very active Facebook group for us Champions. The conversations go on all day, and, like me, the participants are all very passionate. For me, passion feeds off of passion. This is where social causes do well with social media, because social media allows you to tap into critical issues and this initiative has tapped into mine. I listen to NPR every morning and the stories coming out of Libya and the Middle East are truly eye opening and sometimes frightening, to say the least. But, when I leave the car…the day continues. I’ve talked about NPR and what I’ve heard during my morning drive time, but no one reaches me through my social channels to engage me further or enlist my support.
However, when I share something related to the Blue Key Campaign, within minutes a representative from the campaign will recognize my efforts and tweet a big thank you for sharing, making me feel appreciated. As Gary Vaynerchuk would say, it’s a “Thank You Economy.” USA for UNHCR and its Blue Key Campaign is on Facebook, Twitter and they have a blog. I believe that social media will take this campaign to greater heights and USA for UNHCR will reach its goals. I’ve been touched by the stories and the cause. Of course, if you are interested in helping out with the Blue Key Campaign, you can become a champion to too. Here’s how to get a key and become involved.
Social media is a powerful way to capture and keep attention and the Blue Key Campaign has certainly got mine.
Awareness + Engagement = Emotion, Passion + More Action