Social Media, Social Good…Social Justice?

by Zachary Langway | September 19, 2011 10:23 am

How effective can social media be in creating “social good?”  And moreover, is there a way to connect enough dots so that social media can advance social justice here in the U.S.?

This morning, I am headed to the 2011 Social Good Summit, sponsored by Mashable, 92Y and the UN Foundation  in hopes of getting closer to an answer to this question.  There’s a powerful slate of speakers lined up for today (including Ami Dar, founder of, and Nancy Lublin, CEO of Do Something) which can offer some insight into how youth and social media can both transcend and influence social conditions.

But for the most part, we’ve seen this happening primarily overseas: individuals taking to SMS to organize rallies for change in Egypt, Tweeting for (and moving the dial toward) social justice in communities across the Middle East and North Africa.

When we see some of the same primary issues of the “Arab Spring”, like extraordinary unemployment, afflicting communities and families across the U.S., why is it that we don’t also see the same level of social media mobilization for social good, for social justice?  There are 20 states with higher unemployment averagesthan the national rate – where are the mass mobilizations here at home using all of these incredible tools and technologies we have?

Hopefully this week, which will focus on using inherently social technology to affect change, will help offer some clues as to how we can harness the extraordinary power of social media here at home to force real and lasting change in our own communities.

Zack Langway is the Web and New Media Manager for the Center for Community Change and will be blogging from the Social Good Summit throughout the week.


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