How Do We Value Activism?

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We all know that different levels of activism will naturally have different levels of social impact. Activism that is well-researched and informed will have a greater social impact that activism that isn’t, and giving $2 to a cause will not have as great an impact as giving $2 million. That said, not all of us have $2 million that we can afford to give away, and not all of us have the time to thoroughly research a 30 page position paper on the issues that affect our world. Being an activist means that you are doing something – even something small – to make the world a better place. While many detractors would pick on people who make low-stakes investments in a cause (such as social media sharing), shouldn’t we instead be directing our energy toward a positive impact?

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Gaming for Good – Charity at GenCon 2015!

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I neglected to take a picture of the panel, so instead, enjoy this picture of an octopus made out of balloons.

This weekend while I was enjoying the geek heaven that is GenCon, I had a chance to learn about how gaming is not only a great way to have fun, learn skills, and connect with other people – it can also be used to raise money and spread the word about worthy causes in your community. I was lucky enough to participate in a panel with lovely, purpose-driven gamers Andrew Christopher Enriquez and JR Honeycutt of DFW Nerd Night, Oliver Wojtyna of Extra Life Indy Guild, Tiffany Ralph, Dan Patriss of Gamers for Cures, and Adrienne and Jim Jones of Great Big Table and Baby Toolkit. The whole team gave some wonderful tips for organizing charity gaming events and supporting charity through geeky pursuits. Here are some of the tips they shared and lessons I learned: Continue reading

What NOT to do when raising awareness online

What NOT to do

I did a post recently about getting beyond “slacktivism” and actually posting on social media in a way that is impactful. Today, I wanted to dive a little bit into what NOT to do. When you’re a person like me who cares a lot about a cause, or even many causes, it’s very easy to get worked up and start posting things that make you feel good and use some activist language, but are not actually effective at creating social change. Here are a few examples of things that might make you feel good, but do not actually do anything to improve the world we live in.

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Beyond Slacktivism: What Makes Social Media Impactful?

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Thanks everyone who participated in my poll. The people have spoken, and the people want to know what the deal is with social media activism. Can posting and sharing your thoughts and feelings about major social issues really lead to meaningful change in the world? Well, in a lot of ways, yes it can. A recent study found that nearly two thirds of Americans (64%) said that they would be more likely to take some kind of action on an issue (including donating, volunteering, or sharing information) after “following” or “liking” an organization on social media. Today, I’m going to talk about how you can use social media to amplify the effect of the good you’re doing in the world, not to take the place of it.

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What can I do to fight poverty?

When you look at complex societal issues like poverty, it’s easy to feel like there’s nothing we can do to put an end to poverty on a meaningful scale. However, in reality, we are already halfway there, and I mean that quite literally. In 2002, the United Nations launched the Millennium Campaign, and set the Millennium Development Goals in several key areas, including poverty. Since then, the target of reducing extreme poverty rates by half has been met five years ahead of the 2015 deadline. Bill Gates (with the help of Bill Nye and presumably some other people who are probably not all named Bill) gave a pretty good explanation of how foreign aid has had a tremendous impact on global poverty, and has the potential to do even more good. Now, how can we amplify this effect and reduce the income inequality that is plaguing our own country and others around the world? Here’s a step-by-step for people looking to have an impact:

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