Thursday, June 18, 2009

Social media, the good and the unexceptional

When I heard that the website mashable was sponsoring the summer of social good and were going to do it though social media, I was intrigued. However, after finding out what their plan was, I was less than impressed. They are using twitter, facebook, blogs and the like to raise money for the humane society of the United States, Oxfam America, the world wildlife fund and the Lance Armstrong foundation. Now, as far as I know, all four groups are worthy organizations doing good work. My real issue is that they couldn't find anything more original to do with all this great 21st century technology than to beg for money online? Come on guys, is there any way to make social engaged people feel unvalued and disregarded faster than saying, "give us some money and leave doing good deeds to the professionals?"

I am much more impressed with the application being developed by The Extraordinaries that allows people to engage in on-demand volunteerism by mobile phone. Now that is using technology in a new and unique way. How often do you get to throw around fun terms like crowdsourcing and actually have it be relevant? If somebody is motivated to donate money by the summer of social good, that's fine, but I think it's more engaging and ultimately more useful to have applications like the one offered by The Extraordinaries. Then again, maybe I've just been solicited for charitable donations a few million times too many.

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