The Power of Social Media

Social media has positives and negatives for personal and professional uses. One large drive of the spread of information over the web is when posts, videos and or stories become “viral.” Being able to understand why or how something viral comes about is a mystery still, but when it results in the support, awareness and curiosity of a “good” cause, it should be looked at with positive eyes. There is no effective marketing tool that tells the whole picture; yet once you are drawn into a topic, you then become curious. This curiosity transforms into engagement, and that path leads you to awareness and learning more, which is why I would consider something viral as an effective marketing tool.

Recently, “The Ice Bucket Challenge” became viral, taking over social media feeds as men and woman of all ages and social status dumped a bucket of ice water over their heads in support of ALS. This viral campaign has become a controversial topic in that the option to donate is available, versus people taking the initiative of donating to a good cause without an act of ice water being dumped.

For causes such as ALS, it is key to gain awareness, and, with awareness, support will soon follow. Pouring ice over your head may be a silly act that might seem completely unrelated to ALS; yet it has resulted in an organization going from $1.8 million in donations the same time last year to $79.7 million in donations as of August 25, 2014. This number is continuing to grow by the hour. The question of whether this silly act is effective in the support of ALS is an easy question to answer. Donations have increased at a dramatic amount, and awareness of ALS has drastically increased. I would say success.

It’s nice to see what’s trending on social media currently is people having a good time sharing with their friends, family and coworkers the awareness of a good cause.

This is not the only cause that needs attention, and we can only hope that another viral or effective marketing tool can spread like wildfire to bring the public’s attention that direction.

Julie Dickinson is a graphic designer at Imagine Communications. She can be reached at jdickinson@weareimagine.com.

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