I do not want you to use social media to sell stuff and make money. I do not want you to use social media to attract clients and fill a practice.
Sure, it works for those things. And I talk about that often because that’s what people want to hear.
But the REAL reason I use social media is to change the world.
Because the real VALUE is in building relationships and spreading the word about important things.
I am not naive
When I talk about changing the world, certain people roll their eyes. The idea seems lofty or lame or immature and childish to think that *I* have the power to change the world.
But the way I look at it, if we all avert our eyes to our own power, pass the buck and think it’s someone else’s job to address big problems in health care, poverty, global warming, unemployment, decreasing energy reserves we’re screwed, aren’t we? If no one thinks about these things and takes action, what happens?
I know “changing the world” is an overused phrase that’s been cheapened in a lot of ways. I know it’s lofty and vague and can be viewed as warm and fuzzy, but doesn’t require any action.
But what if we took it seriously? What if those of us who uttered “I want the CHANGE THE WORLD!” really did something about it?
The power you have is bigger than you
We play small. We look at our life and think, “if only I had 2 more clients, a contract with a larger company, more time to myself, a vacation in Hawaii…” And we invest a lot of energy into solving those “problems.”
But what if we set out to teach empower homeless people to use social media like Mark Horvath over at We Are Visible, or provide for heart surgery to children in developing countries like Estrella Rosenberg of Big Love Little Hearts?
What happens when we put our energy into solving those bigger problems? My guess is, we get closer to a solution.
And what if your newsletter or Facebook update and Tweets teach a family in in rural Texas about the symptoms of depression and how to get treatment? And, as I have experienced, facts you share about ADHD and autism help parents and teachers in the Philippines and South Africa to better understand their children in distress, and offer them compassion, rather than punishment?
You’d be changing the world.
And building a business. Because when you reach out in that way, you educate not just people everywhere, but you look so generous, and smart in the eyes of the people in your neighborhood and network. We all want to affiliate with a giver. We’ll give them our business. That’s one big reason why lots of corporations advertise their philantropic activities. It’s good for the recipients and good for business.
The bridges we need to build
There are so many people out there working to change the world. They are academics, scientists, policy makers and government officials who think and talk every day about the ideas and actions that will change the world we live in and how we live in it.
They don’t use social media. They have great ideas and need the public to understand them, but they don’t use platforms to spread the word. And they are frustrated that we don’t grasp their ideas and we are frustrated that we don’t hear about them in the first place.
Imagine if we jumped that gate using social media?
Chris Brogan writes poignantly about the need for us to connect the dots between policy makers, academics and the rest of us by leveraging social media in his post Seeking 12 Million Jobs… This idea initially seems intuitive, but in today’s world it’s profound. Why don’t we connect big ideas with the world? And what can we do about it?
A call to action we can do something about
Chris writes to an audience that is mostly online. Many are marketers, bloggers, corporate folks. They inhabit a different work world than those of us in health care. While they are probably wired in more than we are, we know academics, scientists and policy makers. We were taught by them or work with them now. In fact, some of you ARE academics, scientists and policy makers. And we understand research and the intricacies of how these policies and changes will affect real people.
We need to share what we know in a format that the rest of the world can access. The general public can’t read academic journals or go to conferences at the Milken Institute. They DO hang out on Facebook for almost an hour a day (on average).
I challenge you to spread the word of the power of social media to get important ideas to the people who need to hear and understand them. Teach one person a week how to do this social media thing – even if you’re still learning, too, learn together.
Need a model? Dr. Nestor Lopez-Duran does an excellent job over at Child-Psych.org. And if I do say so myself, the posts at ChildDevelopmentPartners.com are good examples of practical mental health care advice to families.
If you look at this effort in social media as world-changing, rather than ‘just for marketing’ doesn’t it seem somehow more important?
Yes, social media can grow your business. It does it even better when your goal is the change the world sharing what you know with others.
Are you ready to make a difference?
Photo credit: oclark53