More than a billion of us on the planet do it and though it’s used for simple, everyday tasks or to ward off boredom, it is just as often a force for incredible good. I am talking about social media and it’s no surprise that organizations of all different
stripes, around the world, spend time and money honing their strategy on how best to use digital and social media to help meet their mission. This is the central focus of a
“Digital & Audience” convening we’re hosting in Seattle this week. On the heels of the global Social Good Summit, where social media for social good was examined from every angle, it’s an exciting and important time to continue these conversations.
It’s something we spend a lot of time thinking about and working on at the Gates Foundation. We are quite proud of some of our own efforts and collaborations with partners, over the last few months, including the
“No controversy” campaign in support of contraception access for women in some of the poorest regions of the world and our
“Reinventing the Toilet” video viewed and shared by hundreds of thousands of people who cared enough to spread awareness about clean water and sanitation. These efforts may not have ignited
the “Arab Spring”, as did the Facebook postings of an Egyptian man named Wael Ghonim, but the power of social media in the hands of those who want to help change the world is evident in all of these examples.
We all have our own examples of social media events which effected sharp and sudden change, for individuals, for companies, for an issue, and sometimes, as in the case of Wael Ghonim, for an entire region. But these are not just unpredictable and random
events. We can harness the power of these platforms for positive causes: the eradication of polio, helping farmers in Africa grow more food, and improving the health of women and children.
This is fundamentally the issue we will explore at a gathering here at the Gates Foundation campus in Seattle on October 2. We’ve gathered an incredible group of non-profit organizations and individuals who engage in some of the most creative and original
work in the digital and social media space, all in service to social good, including some of our partners: Global Poverty Project, Donors Choose, the UN Foundation, and Malaria No More.
We’ll hear fascinating examples of campaigns and approaches which have had impact, and what they have in common. We’ll discuss how you can measure true success beyond the bare numbers of followers or likes amassed. How do we measure the impact of these conversations
and campaigns online, on fixing some of the most pressing problems of the world? And we’ll look at risk and reputation in a social media world where a local challenge one minute can become a global disaster the next.
I do hope you can join us online. We’ll
webcast the discussion live. And join the conversation on Twitter using the hashtag #Digitalstrategy.