On 11/13 I was pleasantly surprised when logging on to Facebook to see the following message and pop-up.

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While big social media giants like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram are ultimately trying to create revenue and build a business, they have a special part in our every day world now, just due to the amount of reach and connections they have to millions of people worldwide.

The Truth Of Social Media Interest

Social media is an interesting place on the internet. Users usually visit various social sites during the day, sometimes multiple times during the day. Most of the time people are looking for something. The latest party their friend had, who recently got engaged, who just bought a sweet new car, or the dreaded pictures from the weekend they don't remember.

More recently social media has become a central part for people to catch up on what is going on around the country and the world. In a recent study, of the two-thirds of users that saw news on Facebook, 61% of them say that they keep Facebook open during the day or check it regularly throughout the day to stay updated.

This study demonstrates the initial reason of using social media, to be social and see, read, and watch things. Users travel to social media sites for information and entertainment that they are willing to look at. Coming back to our humanitarian side of it, these frequent visits by users to see information can allow social media sites to help those in need.

The Power of Social Media's Reach

Usually with larger tragedies and natural disasters, many people go to social media for news updates and information from around the world. Take Hurricane Sandy for example, which saw according to Twitter saw about 20 million tweets sent out during the first 6 days after the storm ravaged the East Coast. Twitter was a replacement for lack of cell reception and no cable TV.

american red cross

This spike in a disaster then lead to the social media fire of the 12.12.12. concert that was spread about through social media to help raise money for those in need after the devastation in the area. Social media is a perfect example of how celebrity news and cat videos can go viral in an instant, however it is pleasant to see the quality and impact of that reach for issues that do matter.

To date the Red Cross has raised over $11 million for the Philippines fund, partially due to the simple $10 donation note that popped up on Facebook. This has been said to be the largest fundraising effort for the Red Cross and Facebook gave it away for FREE with it's prime time real estate section.

Refreshing Features of Social Media

Now that I have done some research on the topic it is refreshing to know that large, "money-hungry" social media giants are still HUMAN. Facebook gets a lot of credit from me for this action. Not only did they do this for free, but they use their powerful reach to be still remain real and connected to the real world.

As a social media marketer sometimes we lose the true grip of how powerful social media is to the world, not just business. At times it is easy to lose touch with the real world through social media, but this act of kindness and humanitarian effort by Facebook, reminds us that no matter how far away we are from others, we are all in this together.

UPDATE: 11/18/13

twitter donations

Twitter is now doing something similar on their timelines with donation links. Again this just comes back to the whole discussion. Sometimes social media can be too business oriented, but when events like this happen the reach is unbelievable to help donate and support causes.

UPDATE: 12/17/13

Facebook has rolled out "Donate Now" buttons for Facebook pages for Non-Profits. You can read more here.

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