People want socially responsible social media

Posted by Talitha Hlaka on 25 April 2016 5:15 PM CAT

We are always online, connected and making our presence felt on social media.  We have evolved into social beings, who are also becoming increasingly aware of being socially responsible. People are engaging more and raising their voices together on movements like Avaaz (Hindi word for voice). These movements give people a sense of contribution, of doing something, even though it may be as simple as signing a petition for a cause that appeals to your sense of what is socially right


Moreover, people also want to feel like they are doing something more than just being kept connected, informed or entertained. Apps that are socially and environmentally responsible number in the thousands, and are increasing daily. Contributions can be done by giving a percentage of the income to a good cause, encouraging donations and volunteerism from users, or by the entire app being about the cause. Apps that encourage citizens to actively engage in environmental issues are increasingly popular.

Examples of such apps includes SpillMap. This is an app that allows citizens to report and record oil spills. It is quick and easy to use, not requiring registration or log in, while making the information freely available to government agencies, civic organisations and other interested parties. Another app, created by our US partner Concursive, Sea Level Rise, makes users able to record and upload images of areas that are being affected by rising sea levels. This is done in real time and is as easy as taking a picture and pressing a button. The app does the rest.

Charity Miles presents another novel idea. It works on the premise that you can help others while helping yourself. A user registers his or her preferred charity organisation to donate to for every mile run or biked. Users say that they are better motivated, and fitter too.

SeeClickFix is an app for citizens to take pictures of problematic public infrastructure - issues like potholes, non-working streetlights, etc.  These issues can be listed and can be voted on, and bring this to the attention of authorities. There are dozens of similar apps in Europe and the Americas, and we at Indigo New Media will soon launch something along these lines as part of our Joburg City Network movement and online platform. For this to work, we need to collaborate with each of you – citizen experts. 

Raashida Khan is the account director at Indigo New Media, who dreams of an engaged, collaborative world, and who dabbles in writing.






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