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.