How social media is encouraging us to #DoSomethingForNothing
According to the chief of the Charity Commission, this is an era of ‘charity fatigue’ and ‘empathy deficit.’ Britain alone has over 180,000 charities. Since the Kids Company scandal we are becoming increasingly skeptical about where exactly our money is going. Public cynicism continues to build in response to constant guilt bombardments through the post, and approaches on the street by commission driven charity representatives. And yet there is little evidence of this cynicism online as more and more people are using social media as an outlet for small acts of charity.
Some celebrities are using their digital platforms to espouse worthwhile causes, such as Leonardo Dicaprio whose Instagram account is dedicated to his passion for the environment. Likewise, lifestyle influencers are making inroads into more socially sensitive issues. This week three food bloggers, with a combined reach of 900,000 Instagram followers, were recruited by the EU and WFP to tell the story of Syrian refugees. While charitable campaigning on social media isn’t a new phenomenon, digital platforms like Instagram and Twitter are encouraging a more charitable mindset.
This was certainly the motivation behind Joshua Coombe’s idea in London. The hairdresser sparked the movement #dosomethingfornothing after taking the initiative to cut the hair of the homeless and document their transformation on Instagram. His belief was that this would inspire others to do small acts of kindness for free. #Match4Lara was another digital campaign launched to help find Lara a lifesaving donor; the outcome of which was that more than 20,000 people signed up to the global stem cell register.
Importantly, these social media platforms offer people something that charitable representatives in the street don’t: a lack of financial commitment. #Dosomethingfornothing encourages people to be more than armchair activists sharing posts and tweets, without the pressure of a price tag.
- Article by Marguerite Vernes and Georgina Ireland