Social media can be a powerful tool for raising awareness about social issues, fundraising for charity during disasters and bringing people together in an online community to support a shared cause. That power was evident in recent efforts to coordinate disaster relief in New Zealand, for example. Numerous posts about Kiva and Mashable’s social good section shine a light on much of the good work that’s already being done.
And young people, ever the early adopters of new social media tools, are a key element to driving new ways of using social media for cause awareness.
It is these sociological and technological forces that led us to the idea of doing an experiment with some leading social media folks, just in time for their mass arrival to Austin, Texas for SXSW Interactive in March.
Dell is hosting an ‘Education for Social Good’ program designed to allow leading social media people to do something great with social media and a local school, while supporting a cause in their local community. They will teach a class in their community about the value of social media, not just to entertain and connect with friends, but also to connect, collaborate and build support for important causes. They will become coaches to their students, who together will select a cause and develop a social media campaign to raise awareness of the cause.
The participating social media campaigns will launch on the social web on Thursday, March 10, just before the start of SXSW. We’ll host the ‘coaches’ at our headquarters near Austin that day, and use our new Social Media Listening Command Center to aggregate and monitor these efforts.
The campaign that generates the largest volume of online mentions on March 10 wins, and Dell will make a $10,000 charitable contribution to the charity of the winning team’s choice. Our goal is to top trend Twitter that day (#ed4good).
If you’re a social media practitioner and you’re planning to attend SXSW Interactive, we’ll hope you’ll join this cool program. It’s a fun way to do some good in your community, with local students and a local charity. You can find our more about the program and how to register at www.dell.com/ed4good. The deadline for registration was recently extended to next Tuesday, March 1.
We’ve decided to leave registration open for a few more days. If you’re interested, put your team together and register here (or click on the image below):