Information and updates spread like virus in Social Media, that I sometimes wonder if updates transfer would send faster than the speed of light. Take for example the campaign to update one's profile picture with a cartoon character to raise awareness and fight child abuse. In just one day, all my friends' profile pictures had been updated, and my Facebook Home Page looks like a cartoon website.
This fact makes Social Media the best venue in creating awareness in community issues and raising fund. DigitalFilipino Janette Toral interviewed the I.T. consultant of Philippine National Red Cross (http://www.redcross.org.ph/) and Co-Founder of Chikka (http://www.chikka.com) Dennis Mendiola on how social media and mobile technologies can be used to raise funds.
I agree with Dennis that an organization should be dedicated in their goals and advocacies. The Undoy calamity is a biggest proof that Social Media specifically Facebook and Twitter have been instrumental in not just creating awareness to the public and raising fund, but most importantly in saving lives as it has become an instrument of communication for those who need help and assistance. We have seen the Twitter updates from lurking netizens to Hollywood celebrities sending their prayers to the victims of Undoy. Same is true for those who had been victims of the tsunamin in Japan. Although social media played an important role in creating awareness, there are still some things that organizations must consider in order to reach the goal of raising fund.
Number one, I think is transparency. I have seen in many Facebook pages, and independent websites the call for donation, and even TV shows flashing bank accounts where one can donate money for the victims of the tragedy. As much as I want to send money and share, I always think twice and even thrice - with doubts if the small amount that I would donate would truly go to the victims - and not just in other people's pocket.
It was a funny thought that we even compare two big TV networks' collected fund - but the big question is, where does the money go? Yes, they are transparent in figures (some even reaching millions - in Peso and Dollar), but after so many months, after the flood has subsided, where is the fund? I hate to question organizations' integrity, but now that sharing information is as easy as tapping some keys, it is the perfect time to keep the public updated with an organization's projects to strengthen their credibility. I agree with Dennis, in the case of Bantay Bata - one organization should always be active - not only when there is a need for donation.
Second concern, would be lack of understanding. The information on where to send money or donation is present. The willingness to help is there. But it is surprising that some people are still not aware on how to use payment methods such as Paypal or GCASH, that donating is still impossible. It may come as a surprise, but I still know some people who are still not very knowledgeable on doing bank transaction such as depositing money in the bank to another account. I think it is important that aside from the call to donate, sharing step by step guide on how to do the "actual donating" would also be included in the information being shared to the public - be it on the traditional media or social media.
Regarding Mobile Registration and Fighting Crime - I agree that Mobile Numbers should not be registered since majority of the mobile users in the country use Prepaid numbers. Crimes and fraud had been committed with the use of prepaid numbers (example is GCASH - in which Scammers online use prepaid numbers to have their buyers deposit payment to these numbers and after successful payment, scammers would easily transfer the money to their real number). ID's and Passports can also be easily faked; HOWEVER, although the suggestion of using Facebook as the main identifier for individuals is interesting, we must consider that Facebook is an independent site. It is true that no one can ever fake and even dare commit a crime online using Facebook, but using Facebook means violating one's privacy. Note that there are people who chose to be private about their personal lives, even to the people they had already added as Friends in Facebook. Most importantly, Facebook is a website created for its sole purpose, and being a National Identification System is not its main goal.
If there is anything that social media that has done to prevent crime, it is the sharing of the videos of actual crimes committed (e.g. Salisi Gang), and stories/emails of fraud and scams. This has made the public aware and be more vigilant.
To be able to raise fund and fight crimes, building one's credibility is the first step. No matter how social can we get, or how aware and involved the people are, building an organization and police force's credibility would even strengthen the passion of the people to get involved.
Going back to the campaign to update the profile pic to a cartoon character, I wonder if we were able to save a few young souls from abuse by doing that? I had participated (with Shera on my profile pic), but I know I could have done something more meaningful other than selecting a picture and liking my friends' cartoon profile pics.
What are your thoughts?
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