Social Media for the Social Good

by Sean Arayasirikul, Guest Blogger for the Network for LGBT Health Equity at Netroots Nation 2011

The opportunity for your organization to bring about meaningful impact and positive change in your communities is real – and social media can help get you there. I attended a session entitled, “FTW (For The Win): Social Networks, Down and Dirty for Change”, where four speakers shared some of the social media strategies that they have applied in their own work. This blog post recaps some of the messages these women had to share. I invite you to learn from their success stories.

Anita Jackson – (

The mission of is to push modern citizen engagement to the limit, supporting family economic security and ending discrimination against moms and women. Did you know that 99% of American moms will be online by the middle of the decade? Moms are not only a population that is integral to society; this projection explains why social media is a logical and ideal means of reaching out to these moms.

Four main principles drive the work at

  • Be nimble and responsive
  • Constantly test and measure
  • Dialogue – do not just broadcast
  • Layer cake mobilizing– engagement at ALL layers

Social media allows for the amplification of grassroots engagement through:

  • Synergistic collaborative work
  • One-click member advocacy
  • Wrap-around mobilization on-the-ground with online back up

Some unique ways produces content for its users are through tweetchats, real-time conversations on Twitter, and blog carnivals, curated blog posts brought together around a central theme.

Aspen Baker – Exhale ( and “16 & Loved” (

Exhale is dedicated to changing the social climate to accept and embrace women who have had abortions. A pro-voice organization, Exhale runs a multi-lingual talk line, a social network and online community with ONLY 3 full-time staff, 40 volunteers, and a 285K budget (in 2010). Although fiscally and organizationally modest, its impact is incredibly wide-spread. Armed with a message, MTV partnered with Exhale to produce a special called, “16 & Loved”, to balance the discussion generated in pop culture discourse around MTV’s popular show “16 & Pregnant”.

“16 & Loved” not only included the MTV special, but also moderated website that served as online oasis of love and tons of social media promotion. They convened a blogger conference call to organize around the special, launched a live blog during the special and trained spokespersons to endorse the special. A wonderful case study was written, documenting the road to developing this successful campaign (

The prevailing take home message was the power of social media to authenticate the human experience by allowing for individual (and collective) voices to be heard. When issues like abortion are humanized, the stigma and moral conflict falls away.

Rachel LaBruyere – Mobile Evangelist

Rachel LaBruyere is a mobile evangelist who helps initiatives strategize when, how and why to use mobile technologies in their progressive campaigns. Below are some of her talking points:

Why Mobile?

  • Mobile allows for information to be captured on the spot. For example, to build your mobile phone list supporters at an event can text a keyword to a number (e.g. – text MOM to RISING)
  • Mobile enables rapid response capabilities – a simple text message call to action can be sent to all your supporters
  • Access to communities who are not online, but have a cell phone with SMS capability
  • 6.1 trillion text messages were sent last year – a large part of communication is via text messages

Mobile can trigger REAL ACTION using REAL STORIES

  • Rachel shared a success story where an SMS text message was sent out to an organization’s mobile list asking individuals to tell their story to their local Congressmen by calling the initiative’s voicemail box. The organization took these voicemail messages and forwarded them to each individual’s elected representative.

2 thoughts on “Social Media for the Social Good

  1. Pingback: BUILDING NETWORKS, REBUILDING THE DREAM | The Network for LGBT Health Equity

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