Social media can be thought of as a toolbox with several tools, each with different main purposes. Like all tools, social networks can be used for constructive purposes, but also as weapons or even as addictive drugs.
As many access social media platforms for personal enjoyment or just to connect with friends, more and more people are discovering a myriad of ways this groundbreaking innovation can be used to make the world a better place. One of the main benefits of social media is that users can totally bypass central planning bureaucracies and move straight from ideas to solutions.
The rise of social media has already dramatically reshaped the playing field for businesses and nonprofits, as well as for job seekers and potential donors to social causes. Today, 80 to 90% of millennials and Generation Z only want to work or invest in companies committed to societal impacts consistent with their own values.
In recent years, several companies have emerged who use technology not only to be profitable, but also to create a better future. According to a survey conducted by the non-governmental organization Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN), social impact platforms have been the fastest growing category of social enterprises in recent years. GIIN reports that the global impact investing market, still in its infancy, has already reached $ 715 billion.
One of these companies is ImpactWayv, the brainchild of a group of thought leaders and actors from the business, nonprofit and tech sectors. Their goal was to create a platform that brings together businesses, nonprofits and individuals to promote, discover and potentially collaborate on social activism, discussions and initiatives that will bring about positive change.
ImpactWayv CEO and co-founder Dan Rubino acknowledged that major social networks, “even with enormous potential in the region”, did not have as their primary objective to generate social good. The ImpactWayv app was born out of the team’s recognition that a social media platform could connect the world’s 200 million businesses and 10 million nonprofits with people in ways that make it easier to connect. achievement of the goals of “doing good”.
In addition to being an interactive social media place, the ImpactWayv platform, available today as an iPhone app, provides a forum for businesses to showcase their social efforts and activities, and for non-profit organizations. lucrative to present their missions and attract supporters. Individual analysis uses this information to make informed decisions about social giving and socially beneficial projects, as well as which companies they will do business with, based on their social activities. The company intends to launch an Android version of the app, as well as a web version, in the near future.
President and Co-Founder George Dolatly explains that to make the app easier to navigate, ImpactWayv has created “Wayvs” – categories and subcategories of social topics and causes that are searchable. Interactions between users are organized around these Wayvs. For example, someone looking for an organization or business that invests in wildlife conservation, indigenous peoples empowerment, or disease eradication, will find multiple like-minded entities and users associated to this “Wayv”. They can then discover commonalities and potentially pool resources to accelerate progress and collective impact.
The ImpactWayv app is a promising platform that Benji Bernstein, co-founder and CTO of the company, believes businesses, nonprofits and individuals will find very useful “… and communities. The leaders of ImpactWayv are convinced that the digital ecosystem they have created will foster substantial collaboration at all levels and contribute to real success in social action.
University of Florida telecommunications instructor Andrew Selepak claimed that social media is a powerful tool for people and movements to share their stories, enabling them to reach new audiences around the world. Social media, he adds, provides a first-hand account of the biggest issues facing the world today from those directly affected.
But Selepak also cautions that social media is a means, not an end, and awareness is a tactic, not a goal. “Slacktivism,” he argues, only becomes real activism and brings about real change when a movement has a goal and a means – a plan of action – to achieve it.
Rochelle Ceira, editor-in-chief of the Center for Social Impact Communication at Georgetown University, says social networks are useful for networking with similar organizations, connecting with donors or clients, sharing factual information, providing feedback and disseminating a call to action – most often free of charge – to an audience global.
A caveat for those who engage in social media is the need to foster a free exchange of positive ideas while minimizing the potential harm from their misuse or abuse. Managing diverse viewpoints has been a challenge, especially for earlier platforms that may not have developed their diverse ideas approaches from the start.
New platforms like ImpactWayv recognize that disagreement can be healthy in an appropriate setting committed to finding the best solutions to real problems. Rubino, Dolatly, Bernstein and their partners are committed to providing an open forum for dialogue and engagement – not a culture of cancellation – to allow various well-meaning parties to find common ground for collaboration.
Rubino sees his social growth [Impact] Media Platform as an accelerator of good works carried out by free people associating freely, breaking down the old “fiefdoms” which in the past limited the success of often multiple efforts occupying the same territory.
As businesses and nonprofits promote their welfare efforts within individual ‘Wayvs’, they and the public (e.g. multiply the good they do.
Rubino’s hope is that people from all walks of life embrace this emerging technology to truly change the world for the better.
Duggan Flanakin is Director of Policy Research at the Committee for a Constructive Future