It only seems like social media has taken over our lives. Between Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, StumbleUpon, and LinkedIn, the internet tends to take up a lot of our time and energy. More than ever, it seems like a narcissist's paradise, where everything is me, me, me and anything we think, quickly becomes a status update. Instant information carries a great advantage. We learn what our friends care about, what activities they participate in - sometimes we find out what they need, and how to help. When you look at it that way, it's not entirely surprising that more than half of teens surveyed (56%) say social media has made them more aware of the needs of others. (source)
For teens, these status updates are like a call to action, and it's more persuasive coming from their friends than from their parents. 68% of the teens surveyed say adults don't do enough to set a good example toward helping others.
Kids do get involved when they see a purpose. 200,000 teens are planning to go hungry when they participate in World Vision's 30 Hour Famine, an event to raise money to fight world hunger and awareness of the millions of people worldwide who don't have enough food. Nearly as valuable, the organizations 31,000 facebook followers will be talking about the effort on their Facebook pages, and other social media, resulting in priceless word of mouth.
The survey was offered exclusively to teenagers, so there is nothing saying that adults aren't equally as immersed in Social Media Do-Goodery. On every Facebook wall and Twitter feed, there are status updates promoting awareness of little-known diseases like Myasthenia Gravis, and online petitions, such as those demanding intervention for the fate American, Said Musa, who is imprisoned in Afghanistan on the charge of being a Christian.
Social media has widened our world in many ways, not the least of which is the ability to get the word out on things we care about, and inspiring everyone to act.