Earlier this month I had the opportunity to travel to Beijing for the launch of “Social Media for Social Good in China: Cases and Best Practices”, a new book capturing the huge commitment of Chinese social media companies to using social media for good.
For background, the Chinese Social Media for Social Good Alliance first came together in 2011 and since then has launched and contributed to a series of innovative online campaigns tackling major public health challenges. From last year’s partnership with the Chinese Ministry of Health to raise awareness and encourage preventative action against the spread of TB, to a World No Tobacco Day campaign that raised national awareness of the dangers of passive smoking from 5% to 19%, their efforts have demonstrated the power of social media to build awareness, find solutions and drive meaningful global change.
Most recently, Chinese social media organizations played an important role in fundraising, information sharing and relief efforts following the April earthquake in Ya’an. China Earthquake Network posted news of the earthquake just seconds after it hit, alerting its 1.5 million followers to the disaster faster than any other media. Sina Weibo opened up its online fundraising platform to accept donations from all online payment systems, including competitors, and within 72 hours raised over 110 million RMB – more than 18 million US dollars. China’s major search engines and social media platforms, including Baidu, Alibaba’s Yitao, Sina Weibo and Tencent Weibo, decided to share information so that people looking for missing family members only needed to do one search to see results from all participating search engines, and volunteer groups used WeChat to coordinate efforts across affected areas.
This book and the sharing of lessons learned and best practices is an important next step in realizing the power of online conversations for good, and one that I hope will inspire people everywhere to find new ways to get engaged both online and off. Mandarin copies will be available on Dangdang.com and Jingdong.com at the end of May, and we look forward to the release of an English language version later this year.