The Facebook Like and the Future of Grassroots Organizations
We can easily accept that, in a lot of ways, the world wide web as opened up the world as a whole. It has made us free to connect with brands, individuals, friends and family instantly. It has made us more aware of information that is both good and bad. In turn, it has kind of created a world that is more whole.
Then what do we make of social media, and particularly Facebook. How, then, has Facebook changed the world we live in, if we had already grown closely connected before social networking?
Certainly, we can suggest that Facebook has made us more connected, developing networks with our own, real friends. But that might be a cop out. Scratch that — that would be a cop out.
Instead, we can see how Facebook (and social networking in general) has changed the world in a completely different way. It has created an environment that promotes the sharing of good, worthy causes and stories. Things that are relevant to us are ‘liked’, and ‘liked’ some more. And if they are truly worthy causes — maybe in political, environmental and international issues — they will be forever cycled throughout those social networks, drawing more and more support from more and more people.
Where Liking Something Is More Than Just Liking Something
When the Facebook like was initially conceived, there was certainly some confusion underlying it. What does showing that I have liked something mean? What should I like? And, ultimately, what’s the point of it?
And, at first, it was a cute, simple tool. Friends would like other friend’s statuses, they would like brands, and they would like wall posts. Then Facebook allowed developers to branch out the like button onto all websites, giving users the opportunity to share stories they read on the web, what their favorite websites were, or even purchases.
Quickly, individuals realized that liking something wasn’t just admitting that you liked it. Initially, when you liked that your friend had been in the hospital for an injury or their dog died, it may have been taken literally. You were saying that you liked that their dog died, even if you didn’t literally mean just that.
But now, liking something shows that you support it. Not necessarily that you approve of it, or that you literally like it, but that you want that message to spread and that you want others, including your friends, to know about it.
Now, Grassroots Movements Start With a Like
Then, charity organizations had begun reaching out to sponsors and raising money for charity. Quickly organizations like We Day received millions of dollars in donations just from people ‘liking’ their pages. Liking was an easy way to get people to support something and to reverberated simple messages.
Now, especially beginning with recent worldwide movements like Kony 2012 — a movement that was established by the charity organization Invisible Children in order to raise awareness and worldwide support for the capture of Joseph Kony, an indicted worldwide criminal — the like has become an even more powerful tool for organizations to spread support about their cause.
If your cause is good enough, and your message powerful enough, it can easily be spread throughout the Internet with a simple click of a button from millions of individuals. In a recent example, the Kony 2012 video that has been spreading throughout the tubes of the Internet has already seen over 50 million views worldwide. That has translated into tons of support for the cause and for the organization Invisible Children.
And this could be just the beginning. Instead of turning to traditional advertising methods, more and more grassroots organizations will begin by appealing to the interests of users through social media. Liking, and not necessarily impressions, will be the new barometer of success for these organizations. The more compelling their stories, the more likes their campaign will garner. The more likes their particular campaign receives, the greater success they may have in their grass roots movement.
By creating a more accessible, social and viral world, social media is completely changing how we view grassroots movements. It has the ability to ignite and extinguish social media movements as we see fit. Right now, Kony 2012 is the current flavor of the year, for users of social media and politicians that have been forced to address those concerns.
But next year? Maybe something even bigger.
Source: MSM DesignZ, Inc. is a Westchester NY Social Media company specializing in advertising, web and graphic design, and SEO.