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Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Community spirit is alive on the web

What do people use social media for a lot? To keep in touch with one another and to reach out to one another. The reaching out bit is becoming a huge global wave that seems to have touched every corner of this world. Any and every social ill or injustice done anywhere can snowball into a much bigger deal than ever before.

People can be recruited to support causes that they wish to even if they don't live within the physical boundaries of a particular country. See how the Egypt, Syria and Libya issues have spiralled out of state control because of online activism as much as offline legwork.
People are choosing not to remain passive puddings anymore, and with social media making it so easy, they have less excuse for doing so. Even though in a country like India, 56% of people mentioned in this Prosumer report (Communities and Citizenship) stated that voting was on par with making a difference, in more developed countries voting is no longer the only way to get heard.

Here people prefer to talk with their wallets and get businesses to act and behave in a more socially and environmentally responsible manner. In line with this expectation from hyper-aware consumers, a lot of global businesses have started programmes that reflect this concern. And more businesses should because a huge 83% of people want to make the world a better place.

Here's what the report says come companies are doing to curry favour with their socially and environmentally savvy consumers:

1. Through its Imagine Cup, Microsoft is supporting FlashFood, a social media−empowered app that connects restaurants, caterers, and other food-service businesses with community organizations that feed the hungry. The app coordinates the transfer of excess food togroups in need each day, so less of it ends up in waste bins.

2. Reckett Benckiser’s Harpic is working with Save the Children to build and repair community toilet facilities in those parts of India that are most in need.

3. Dos Equis, CamelBak, and other brands are instilling a sense of community and camaraderie in targeted locations by sponsoring Tough Mudder, a hardcore obstacle-course event designed by British Special Forces to test participants’ strength, stamina, mental grit, and teamwork. The events, which have raised in excess of $3 million for the Wounded Warrior Project, have expanded beyond the U.S. to Canada, Europe, and Australia.

4. Hoping to gain a quick dose of legitimacy with the environmental crowd, Clorox partnered with the Sierra Club to promote the Green Works line of natural cleaning products. And a number of leading companies—IBM, Pitney Bowes, Nokia, and Sony, among them—have joined with the World Business Council for Sustainable Development to create the Eco-Patent Commons, intended to make environmentally friendly patents available for widespread use. 

When every person with an internet connection can coerce or convince businesses and governments to act ethically and fairly, as much as possible, then the birth and spread of social media has found its true meaning.

For more interesting insights, read the full report here: http://www.prosumer-report.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/downloads/2013/01/prosumer-communities-and-citizenship.pdf

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