Allison Fine’s Momentum: Igniting Social Change in the Connected Age is our final reading for Georgetown’s Social Media for Social Change class. And what a fitting book to end our reading with… This book stands the test of time, and sits above the tools to provide great analysis of the issues and impact social media brings to those trying to affect change (image: Army Cluster Fight by jurvetson).
The crux of Momentum: Change, not society (well, yes society), but really ourselves as activists. The time of needing to raise more money; running from accountability; attempting to discern what society needs behind closed doors; locking out donors and networks; and, being cowered into a weak sibling status compared to conventional business is over. Or it can be.
We can use these tools to dramatically change the way nonprofits do business and affect change. Instead of achieving missions we can build movements.
Becoming a Connected Activist requires an internal shift, an acceptance of the mantle of change agent – within the nonprofit sector and organization. The frontline is the executive suite and their communicators. Using these tools, we have an opportunity not to just have a conversation, but to change the business of philanthropy by tearing down silos and embracing our stakeholders in the very process of educating, determining direction, fundraising, activism, etc.
As practitioners we get so stuck on the tools. Even in this class we’ve executed a deep dive into best practices, focusing hard on positioning and strategy, on when to pick up tools and how to communicate in two-way environments. But now it’s time to go back to our original start.
Social media for social good asks you to do something beyond simply engaging a smart marketing communications program. It means affect change. What are you going to do with these tools? What are the measurements?
Momentum raises a lot of issues, including important chapters on fundraising and privacy. But the most important point for every Georgetown communicator – and I dare say any communicator in the nonprofit industry – what will your social media efforts achieve for your particular cause?
Yes, we need ROI; yes, we can build quantitative goals into our programs. But are we changing our individual worlds for the better? Have we embraced the edge and built movements throughout our networks? Or have we just hit a financial goal and successfully proved that social media works?
Think about it. When you press “send” it’s more than firing off a “message.” You are attempting to ignite something. Maybe that’s opening up a silo a little today and using social media for more than just a two-way conversation. Build something that will impact your mission, and change the course of history.