Judging by Tito Mboweni’s daily tweets of what he’s cooked for dinner, Fikile Mbalula’s recent unblocking spree of half of Twitter’s users and Donald Trump’s weekly rants, there’s never a dull day in the Twittersphere.
South Africa – Fake news, embarrassing videos gone viral, Donald Trump spam, pop up adverts, and your acquaintance’s endless baby pictures are just some of the unwanted aspects of social media.
But, let’s not write social media off. After all, it can also be used as a force for good, as some recent examples demonstrate. In fact, if this year’s college and university graduation season is anything to go by, all is not lost as South Africa showed us how to bring the crowd together in aid of online pleas for help.
Traditional Crowdfunding works through an individual signing up to a crowdfunding platform with the goal of highlighting a particular project, issue or cause. The aim is to raise awareness for the cause to receive small donations from members of the public around the world until a monetary goal is met and they are able to go on and fulfil the mandate of their crowdfunding pleas.
In the past few months, we’ve seen various social media posts that have become viral stories.
These are ones in which people talk about their struggles with graduation support, the search for a job after graduation, and connecting family members who dreamed of joining them on their special graduation day. The reason these appeals go big is that they pull at the heartstrings of other social media users who are moved by the stories and feel that they need to spread the message far and wide so they can help these people’s dreams become a reality. This is achieved through the crowdfunding.
Recently on Twitter, we saw a tweet go viral, which encouraged job seekers to tag the profiles of the companies they wanted to work at. Thousands of job seekers across the country came together to retweet and spread the message, with even more participating by joining the thread and tagging one or in some cases multiple companies they dream of working for. Thousands of South Africans were able to get responses from their dream companies because of the traction that one tweet gained.
In another instance, a big hotel chain in an act of kindness, reached out to a graduate who decided to tweet about how her grandmother was so proud of her that she saved up all her pension money to travel to Johannesburg to attend her granddaughter’s graduation. The #getgogotograduation tweet went viral, and Kulula Airlines and Protea Hotels by Marriott came to the table with the airline flying Gogo to Johannesburg and the hotel group treating her and her grandmother to an epic graduation weekend at a hotel.
In another instance, a soon-to-be graduate tweeted about how his family could not make the trip to his graduation. After being retweeted, he received surprise support from strangers who saw his post and decided to make their way to his graduation ceremony to support him. Even more staggering is that, after seeing that he also owed around R30 000 for the cost of his studies, an anonymous donor saw the tweet and decided to cover his debt.
If these crowdfunding examples are anything to go by, it’s safe to say there are still a few reasons why you shouldn’t close your social media accounts just yet.
Either way, these are the types of stories we love to see on our social media feeds! Ordinary South Africans working together and showing us that, if we all pull together and offer what we can, even if it is just a click of the Share or Retweet button, we can rest assured that we can play a part in making someone’s dreams come true, without having to spend any money at all.