Volunteerism thru social media: Promoting the spirit of volunteerism in Social Media

   As what they say, this is the generation of Social Media. Most of the people on the planet are now in Social Media. It becomes part of our lives. Some people use it for good while others use it for illegal activities. What’s funny is that some Social Media users cannot live without it.

   “Social media is a computer-mediated tool that allows people or companies to create, share or exchange information, career interest, ideas, pictures/videos in virtual communities or networks [1]. It is a tool for communication; a tool to share ideas and information on the global scale. It is used by diverse groups or individuals, ranging from citizens, government agencies, NGOs, and businesses. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube, Google+, Wikis are some of the best examples of it. It has two main purposes – to inform and entertain. 

   Social Media is a good avenue to spread relevant advocacies and volunteerism. The two is interconnected in the sense that they depend on each other. Many groups use it to advance their cause or share relevant information with the public. Moreover, they use it to recruit volunteers to help materialize their activities. It is a great platform to recruit or mobilize volunteers. For example, during the typhoon Yolanda, Netizens used Twitter to donate relief goods and to mobilize volunteers for the victims of typhoon Yolanda. This is just one of the best examples of utilizing the power of Social Media for collective action. 

   In my case, I use Social Media not only to share my advocacies and other people’s advocacy stories but I also promote the essence of volunteerism especially to the youth. I make a point that all my Social Media activities have value to my online friends (or Followers). For example, if an NGO asks me to help spread their message, I interview their representative and ask some questions. After I get the necessary answers, I write an article about it or share it on social media. In this way, people get informed and would eventually volunteer their service to that organization. 

   We cannot blame others who used Social Media for irrelevant reasons. Maybe they are not aware (or not into) of responsible use of it. As you observe, some people use it for sharing narcissist selfie photos, to spread or gather rumors or avenue to express their angsts. For example, if a Facebook user shares his latest Good Morning selfie and within a minute this selfie photo gets 100 likes or within 30 minutes it gets 1,000 likes. As you have observed from your Facebook Newsfeed, you wonder how come it reaches that kind of numbers. While your posts, which are more sensible, only gets 10 likes. Whatever the reasons, do not get upset. The important thing is that you use Social Media in a sensible manner. In the long run, your friends (or followers) will be able to realize the value you have given to them. 

   In using Social Media, keep in mind that you should think first before you share your thoughts online. Put in mind the consequences if you share embarrassing photos or outrageous statement on your Facebook (or other social networking accounts). Remember, once you post a libelous (or negative) shoutout, it would be forever floating on the internet. Even though you deleted it, assume that there is someone screenshot or screen grabs your shoutout. Be critical of your posts. Be a self-critic. Judge yourself in a way that you become aware of its effects not only to yourself but to other people. Be a role model to your followers. Set a good example. Sooner or later, they will emulate your style of sharing. And be active not only in online activities but also offline. They will not believe you if you just spend your time entirely on Social Media. Get involve in many organizations. Volunteer and make a difference. Use Social Media with a good purpose in mind. 

Before you use Social Media, ask yourselves these questions: 

-> What is my advocacy? 

What do you advocate for? What issues or problems you want to help solve? This is important in the sense that it would become your guiding point in sharing relevant posts in your social networking accounts like Facebook. It is good if you are aware of it. If you do not know your advocacy, do not get alarmed. It is normal especially if you are still in the process of discovering it. If you already know your advocacy, there are lots of reading materials that you can find on the internet. Furthermore, you can engage with NGOs that are related to your cause. In short, be active in offline activities. 

-> What are the advantages and disadvantages of Social Media? 

It is important to know it in the sense that you would know your limitations and responsibilities as Social Media user. Research well, monitor your Social Media activity and be a responsible user. 

-> Do I need to create a Social Media Plan? 

It is important to have a plan. Whether a detailed plan or not, it serves as a guide on how you use Social Media productively. For example, how many times you post a day? What kind of posts you want to share? What is your goal? Who is your target audience? What do you want to communicate to the public? And so on. Know your message and craft it well. 

-> What Social Media platforms should I use?

It is important to know what Social Networking Sites best suited for your cause. Today there are many social networking sites that exist on the net. Choose the best one that could cater to your desired outcome. For example, if you want to focus your engagement on Facebook or Instagram, so be it. As long as you know your goal(s), objectives and target audience. Spend your time on Social Media wisely and productively. Be smart, creative and have fun. 

   The spirit of volunteerism starts in you. As you become active in volunteer work, you will soon realize the importance of Social Media. If you start to explore your community and engage in community development work, you will soon appreciate the power of Social Media. Get involve in nation-building. Volunteer and make a difference. Set a good example to your friends. Keep inspired and be the inspiration. And don’t forget to share your story on Social Media. 

Leave a comment below and let me know what you think.
Thank you