In light of a mission trip that I’m taking to Kansas, Oklahoma with my youth group next week, I’ve decided to write about something a little more personal to me. You see, I’ve been going on mission trips since I was in 8th grade. This will be my 4th. And every year, we’ve gone and we’ve come home and never really spoken to those people that we helped again. Sometimes we receive letters of appreciation, sometimes not. And that’s okay. But, sometimes I really wish that people could see the people that we help because not everyone realizes that there are people in need right here in the United States, right here in Southern Illinois even. You don’t have to go overseas to do a mission trip. You can do a mission trip in your hometown. But, that’s not what I’m really writing about today.
Social media is the key to communication. It’s the key to helping others, to getting to know one another, finding jobs, finding significant others, ect. It is the future of communication and you need it regardless if you want it or not. Do any of you remember when the earthquake hit Nepal? Were any of you annoyed by the requests to donate to helping them rebuild their lives? I was one of them until I really thought about what they were doing. They were reaching every corner of the world to try and gain support for one small nation. If one person from every Facebook profile account had donated $1, can you imagine how much relief we could’ve brought to Nepal? And even those of us who couldn’t donate, we were made aware of a disaster that happened half-way across the world. According to Time, Facebook raised over $10 million for Nepal in 2 days. That’s crazy. Through social media, we were able to help a country without even leaving our own.
People don’t realize what a big impact social media has made on us. 50 years ago, we probably wouldn’t have heard about the earthquake at all, especially not in the time that Facebook told us all and asked us to donate. Social media is more than just a tool to connect with friends and family. It can be used to help nations and to help people. What else could be better?
On top of the amount of people helped by Facebook’s contribution, people are just made aware. Like I said above, we knew about it. And even if we couldn’t personally help it, we could pray for it. And sometimes that’s enough.
For those of you who live in Southern Illinois, I’m sure you all remember May 8th, 2008. Who doesn’t? And for those of you who don’t live here, I wouldn’t be surprised to hear that you have heard of the inland hurricane, dubbed a derecho, that swept through Southern Illinois. I remember that day more clearly than almost any other day in my entire life. I remember being pushed against a wall in a school basement that was leaking, and I remember going home to find a tree on the roof of my garage. But what I remember even more is my mother receiving a phone call from my family in California saying that they heard about a storm in Southern Illinois on the news and on the internet and they wanted to make sure that we were okay.
THAT is the power of social media. People can learn about disasters about as quickly as they happen and they can help. Through the power of the internet, they can donate food, money, supplies, and almost everything imaginable.I You can’t beat the feeling you get inside of you when you learn that you just helped someone in need, someone worse off than you. And that makes everything better.
You need social media. You need it for your business, you need it to brand yourself, and you need it for the potential to help others. No slacking, guys. Download that Facebook and Twitter app onto your smartphone, keep an eye out for ways to help others, and #TurnTheLightBulbOn.
By: Harley Crawshaw | @harley_crawshaw