Promoting Your Cause Through Social Media

Digital space has opened a vast and expanding platform for dedicated individuals and organizations who are driven by causes they believe in. It’s a much more friendly environment than the old, traditional media because professional standards of journalism dictated that reporters and editors should not take sides, or champion causes (such as charities) beyond those, ahem, favored by the publisher. These days, anyone with a cause can find a voice — and support and even contributions — online.

But where? Using the example of a cause I believe in, abolishing modern forms of slavery in the world, I’ve found that of the social media I am most familiar with, Twitter offers the best platform to find, recruit and energize fellow believers.

Facebook often is the first name in social media, but it may not be the most efficient channel for causes. I say this even though Facebook offers cause pages (which I have used). It just seems more and more that Facebook is a vehicle to stay up with your friends and family, with an emphasis on the personal details of daily life. It’s about who you are.

Twitter, on the other hand, increasingly is about what you think, and that’s precisely fertile territory for causes. Case in point: human trafficking (which is generally a synonym for contemporary slavery). I’m not an active “tweeter,” and when I do post on Twitter, it’s almost exclusively on something related to #human trafficking (the hashtag is like a keyword in the Twitter universe). I am now being followed by some fairly knowledgeable individuals around the world who are interested in anti-trafficking causes. And Twitter has helped expand my world by leading me (through tweets) to websites and organizations I have never heard of, yet which I’m glad to have found. In just a few short months, as a result, I’ve become engaged with a small but growing cadre of people and organizations that share an interest — really, a strong belief — in combating modern slavery. Perhaps most important, I am learning new things about human trafficking through Twitter, and that’s huge in this day of message overkill.

I hear a lot of people saying they either joined Twitter and then stopped or don’t know how to take full advantage of what it has to offer. It could be that Facebook is the better choice for staying in touch. However, for building a digital corps of true believers in whatever cause is most important to you, Twitter is home base.

2 thoughts on “Promoting Your Cause Through Social Media

  1. Paul,

    A good insight, as always.

    I agree with you that Twitter has created a niche of its own as far as getting the word out for non-profit groups and causes. It is the viral means of choice, so-to-speak.

    A very current example for a cause that is less serious than the very sad example of human trafficking – is the recent surprise ‘Splash Dance’ on Cincinnati’s Fountain Square that was organized by the Fine Arts Fund on Thursday, September 24.

    The ‘spontaneous’ (Antwerp Train-station-YouTube-like) dance was filmed and then uploaded to YouTube by the FAF. Among the many options for word-of-mouth, I’ve observed many local folks spreading the word all weekend through their individual Twitter messages.

    Because each click-through to the FAF Splash Dance video on YouTube increases the video’s popularity, and thus, placement, on YouTube, this viral spread is obviously critical for a wide message delivery.

    Twitter appears to be the “grassroots-driven message-spreader.”

    If you want to catch the Splash Dance video, here is the URL. And heck, if you want to ‘tweet’ the link… for all the dance, arts, creativity fans to see…. I’m sure the originators of that video would love it.


  2. Paul,

    It was nice chatting with you briefly at New Media Cincinnati on 11/14 about this. I recently had my eyes opened when I listened to a podcast from the Daily Audio Bible about trafficking (I guess if I listened to it, then my ears were opened?).

    Several of us are using Twitter Search ( to find conversations, opportunities, etc. related to specific topics of interest to us. By posting relevant, engaging, human content on Twitter, you are allowing yourself to be found by people interested in your content. And they are more likely to connect with you and try to build up a relationship with you.

    Having said that, look what’s happening right here, right now. I’m posting a comment that takes up more than 140 characters. Blog comments are the new currency in social media, wouldn’t you agree? In an age when the 140-character tweet is becoming so common, where many are forsaking their blogs for the quick status update on Twitter and Facebook, commenting on blogs is something noteworthy.

    I’ve since subscribed to this blog so that I can look for relevant content and offer up the occasional comment.

    Make it a great day!


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