February 20, 2013

#smwsgchange - Change the world with a hashtag

This was one of the first actual sessions of #SMWSG. After the keynote at the Raffles Hotel, I headed here to find out what this session was about entirely. It was meant to be an inspiring panel discussion on how brands and individuals could make a difference in a genuine way through social media. So in essence the core discussion of the panel was to explore the concept of social media for social good, with first hand stories from companies doing just this.

It started off briskly with the round of introductions on what each and every person supported and what they did in their capacity of changing the world through social good.

The buzzword here of course was #crowdfunding and the panel experts were more or less folks from the field, (either a company which did crowdfunding or an association / organization which had a meaning for changing the world with some social good.)

The first speaker to share his insights was Robin Low, who shared about a very essential problem while working for the Japan Tsunami relief. He faced a problem where women who were part of the efforts or at the distraught areas, were unable to participate in helping out because they didn't have tampons. And how Robin Low drove people coming in via Tokyo or from Airports to buy as many tampons as they could and he'd reimburse them. Very simple problem, but dire straits call for dire measures we guess.

Another interesting insight that I could recall from the discussion was that of the founder Kevin Strazberger, he portrayed the importance and relevance of how Crowd funding is all about finding the niche and getting your target demographics right and then building that interest. Cause anything else is about the huge noise that's created. And we can't get anywhere when there's noise and clutter, that's for sure...

Dorjee Sun who is the CEO of Carbon Conservation and is passionate about forests, carbon, community development, conservation and climate change shared his insights on the Carbon Conservation’s work that covers energy efficiency, renewable energy, plantations and projects that incentivize the preservation of tropical rainforests by helping forest owners and local communities generate alternative revenues through the carbon finance market. His stress was more on the fact that in today's world we need to use and empower ourselves to make that change as much as possible and organizations should use and empower the crowd to build and source as many resources as possible. Social is the new ball game especially when it comes to crowd funding.

Overall the session was really great, there were a few debates, humble back and forth agreements, disagreements... which was quite fun to be part of...

I also asked the question to the panel of how #Kickstarter model could probably be as effective for Social Good as it is for the consumerism that is being driven because of so much commercialization and economic disdain that we are part of. To which Jason Aspes of Newton Circus said, that it could be possible, it's workable and not done yet... But how successful it could be, we all have to wait and watch.

Overall it was quite a good session, got great insights especially the discussions helped me to realize and understand that, Doing Social Good is far more challenging in today's world than using or adopting Social For consumeristic opportunities.

I'd heard how difficult it is from Beth Kanter's talk on a podcast by Mitch Joel, and that again resonated with me after I attended the session.

But it is certainly not difficult... I end this blog with this thought, something I read from Betty Lim's website... ( I met her at the event for a brief moment.

Walk the thought from 'Me to We' Isn't that what crowd funding and Changing the world together is all about?

Srinivas has been a communications professional for over 10 years, and has been blogging since 2005. He has worked with the likes of Social Wavelength, now Mirum India, (A JWT Group Company) for four years and now Heads Learning and Development & Analytics at Social Kinnect: A Digital Marketing Agency in Mumbai. His passion for Advertising, Creativity, Social & Digital Marketing helps make a difference for the brands they work with. 

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