During the last few years, social campaign on social media or "social networking" websites has become quite popular. These websites have become part of our daily lives and being tossed around over the past few years. It is much more than just about sharing information and ideas, although it is like any other media such as television, radio and newspaper. Social networking platforms like Blogspot, Flickr, Facebook, and Twitter etc have facilitated creation and exchange of ideas more effectively and widely than any other conventional media. The power of defining and controlling trends is shifting towards the acceptability of individuals and communities rather than remaining in the hands of corporations and institutions.
In an online survey conducted by InSites Consulting in January 2010 with 2,884 consumers from over 14 countries between the ages of 18 to 55 years old on social networking; 72% of participants are members of at least one social networking site and more than 90% of participants know at least one social networking site. On an average, people have about 195 friends and they log in twice a day to social networking sites. However, at work, 55% of the users cannot access their social network websites. With social media, even a child or teenager can get to know more than 500 people in a few days by just clicking the mouse, which would have been impossible if one would go on making friends by actually meeting them in person. Social media has devalued the traditional definition of "friend" where it means compatible values, support, trust etc. we are not able to build strong bond with all the people whom we met, as our available time is limited, although we get to know many more people than we would have known otherwise within our whole lifetime. Hence, weaker ties (people we do not know very well but who provide us with useful information and ideas), although there is an upcoming social trend of people with wider social circles.
Social media is also influencing people's buying manners. Digital Influence Group reported that 87% trust a friend's recommendation over critic's review and 91% of the people say consumer reviews are the #1 aid to buying decisions. For purchasing decisions, it is thrice more likely to trust peer opinions over advertising. One word-of-mouth conversation has a force of 200 TV ads. With the pervasive use of social media, there is abundant news associated to it from the majority viewed YouTube video on "Armless pianist wins 'China's Got Talent'" to Web-assisted suicide cases. Therefore, social campaign gets umpteen benefits from such social networking sites.
It has been two years since iReport was launched by CNN as a section of its website where people can upload video material, with contact information. CNN had published a range of social media material but not all the materials were verified during the Haiti crisis. The editorial staff would label the reports from the citizen journalists compared to unverified contents. To show support to the social campaign and share updates and news; a group named "Earthquake Haiti", was formed on Facebook. It had more than 14,000 members and some users even pleaded for assistance to the injured Haitians in the group. Thousands of volunteers as part of Project Ushahidi were able to map reports sent by people from Haiti, using emails, and social networking sites like Facebook, and Twitter.
Charity text-message donations that soared to over $10 million for the victims in Haiti during this social campaign are the most impressive part of the social media's impact on Haiti. By using various social networking sites, people interested in helping the victims are encouraged to text, tweet and extend their support.
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Social Campaign on Social Networking Websites