Socially Responsible Social Media

In their recent online article Time Magazine asks, “Can Video Games Save the World?” Albeit the title’s a bit cliché, we at Peanut Labs are happy to see press that shines a positive light on gaming and recognizes its powerful position in our society. The enthusiasm of our 80+ million users is a testament to the significance of social gaming. For young users like ours, socially conscious games present an opportunity for exposure to real world issues that may elude them through traditional media channels. The interactive nature of gaming not only exposes us to the issues, but invites us into a world where our actions can impact social causes. Since 2006 when MTV released Darfur is Dying, the social game has inspired thousands of users to contact the White House or petition their local representatives. Stephen Friedman, general manager of MTV affirms, “No other media enables you to literally run in someone’s shoes.”

Facebook’s application Causes offers more evidence of the socially conscious potential inherent in social media. Causes now powers the Facebook Charity Gift Shop, allowing users to send gifts to their friends’ profiles with profits going to charitable organizations. According to Causes, you can “buy a Bed Net for a friend and Malaria No More will deliver one insecticide-treated net to protect a child in Africa from malaria,” or purchase “a Healthy Baby Kit Gift [which] will help the International Rescue Committee provide a baby delivery kit with a warm blanket for a child born in a crisis zone.” Social media has embraced the trendy “shop for a cause” movement, which in the past was only available at bricks and mortar and online stores. This demonstrates the adaptability of social media, which has become a reflection and extension of current, everyday life.

Here at Peanut Labs we’re proud to partner with CMO Council in the Pause to Support a Cause Campaign. This milestone program allows participants to channel funds to their favorite causes or charities, in exchange for taking online surveys. Many of us can be overwhelmed when faced with the problems of the world. What can we do to influence positive change? We’re told a good place to start is to “act locally, think globally.” Using surveys in socially beneficial ways can produce real change on a global scale. This is an excellent place to begin; where can we go from here?

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