Progress – What Progress?

Jul 4, 2012

Well as the ladies will no doubt know it’s an album by the British band Take That, which was the first album to feature Robbie Williams since 1995.

But what else is progress?

According to Wikipedia PROGRESS is “the idea that the world can become increasingly better in terms of science, technology, modernization, liberty, democracy, quality of life, etc.” Also according to Wikipedia SOCIAL PROGRESS is “the idea that societies can or do improve in terms of their social, political, and economic structures.”

On this website we focus on one of those aspects – the social element via online social media rather than the political or economic. However can you actually separate them out? Probably not! Surely online social networking is impacting how we view the world, how we interact, how we comment, report, engage and voice our opinions. We let the world know how we feel and what’s important to us via online platforms which in turn has an impact on the political and economic landscape.

I recently volunteered at a Coldplay concert for Oxfam to raise awareness to the GROW campaign and wrote a blog about the experience called ‘To Pea Or Not To Pea’ which featured on the Oxfam On Tour website. As part of the exercise we explained and handed out information about Oxfam’s GROW global campaign which aims for a future where everyone always has enough to eat.

We also encouraged the concert goers to sign up to a petition which was handed to politicians going to the RIO +20 Earth Summit to raise awareness about the injustice in how food is distributed globally.

Online social media played a huge part in this campaign. With permission of concert revelers, they had their picture taken (either with or without people dressed up at pea pods, carrots, tomatoes etc) which was then uploaded to the Oxfam On Tour Website & Facebook Page. By signing the RIO +20 Earth Summit petition they were also agreeing to be forwarded details about the GROW campaign. In addition to this we also encouraged people to tweet while they were at the concert about the injustice using the hashtag #lovefoodhateinjustice which was being re-tweeted by Oxfam & Coldplay and featured on the Oxfam On Tour website..

What a fabulous and creative way of raising awareness of Oxfam’s GROW campaign. We don’t like to have such campaign’s ‘pushed in our faces’ and be constantly bombarded by marketing information. Often I’ve been to concerts & seen screens showing poverty and injustice. Has this encouraged me to take action? No, not really. Has it led to ongoing support? No. Yet by ENGAGING with people socially at the concert through volunteers; explaining why we were there, then gaining peoples trust and consent to upload pictures to facebook and encourage them to check things out for themselves – maybe, just maybe this will have a longer lasting impact for those people, and PROGRESS has been made. I ‘raise my hat’ to Coldplay for the 10 years and continued support of Oxfam’s work.

How has online social media impacted you?

Has it given you a ‘voice’ and if so how have you used it to let your opinions be known?

How did this help the ‘cause’?