Social media makes it easier than ever for people to get and stay connected. A single news item that would otherwise take days or weeks to circulate among a group of people dedicated to a related cause can now be shared instantly, bringing everyone together for a rapid response.
That’s why social media is something that the Green movement can benefit from enormously. The whole grass-roots, populist vibe fits in perfectly with the demographic that seems to use social media heavily.
Here are some concrete examples of practical application.
Social media can help Green-oriented folks meet and organize
Research via Social Media
The research power of social media is as close as the nearest Google search. That’s the first step, anyway. A good search can point you to various companies’ websites and social media pages so that you can see what they are doing (or not doing) for the environment.
You can also find educational courses that help you increase your Green knowledge. For instance, “3 PDH Online Courses That Support Green Building” helps engineers and architects in designing more sustainable structures that don’t negatively impact the environment. Or perhaps it’s a matter of using cloud computing to promote the Green movement.
Sometimes, you can just come right out and ask Green-related questions of people and groups that have a social media presence. For instance, as the US draws ever closer to the next elections, you can research various candidates (many of them have wised up and put up social media pages) to see what their stances are on Green issues. Then can contact them via Twitter and get more information, if you want.
How many times have you heard people say “I’d like to join such and such a group, but I can’t seem to find out where they meet or how to get in contact with them. How do I start?” Never fear, social media is here!
There are social media networks out there that make it easy to gather into groups dedicated to one topic or cause. For instance, Facebook lets you create Groups and Pages that people can join and use as a way of getting together and sharing ideas and events.
This especially comes in handy when, as a for instance, there’s a news item about a public town meeting being called to discuss and vote on fracking. Having a group or circle in social media enables everyone to get brought up to speed on the issue, and even organize a handful of activists to attend the meeting and let their voices be heard.
There’s some blurring between promotion and involvement, but that’s hardly surprising. You promote events that you want people to get involved in. But there’s enough distinction to justify a new section, so let’s just run with it.
If you have a blog, you can use that to promote certain aspects of Green causes, linking back to it from your social media page. Personally, I call attention to my blogs via my Facebook and Google Plus pages. Conversely, your blog can point reader back to your personal profiles and pages, so they can see what your involvement is on social media, and perhaps join or follow you.
Facebook lets you create Events, including sending out invitations, uploading pictures and videos, and much more. In fact, once the event is done, you can post follow-up reports and images for the benefit of those who are interested but were unable to attend, perhaps with a tease message informing everyone of the next event!
Even if you’re not organizing an event per se, you can use social media to help boost the signal and spread the word among a greater audience. As any marketing professional will tell you, nothing is as effective as word of mouth.
Activism Versus Slacktivism
You may have heard that latter term during your forays into social media. It’s the idea that all you need to do to help make a difference in the world is to post a Like, or pass on some meme relevant to the cause. It’s a practice that’s justifiably derided.
Fortunately, as shown above, there are many ways that you can use social media to actually make a difference for the environment; all it takes is a little time, energy, and dedication. The long-term benefits to our planet are worth it.
photo credit: PERMACULTURE FOR THE PEOPLE 2010 cc 2.0