Social media and the Internet dominate today’s society and our generation. As research shows, each day, 25 billion tweets are read and sent 2 billion YouTube videos are watched; and 600 million people log onto Facebook. These numbers will only increase as time goes on and social media becomes more readily accessible.
Now, in 2014, about 1 billion people are active daily on Facebook; 500 billion tweets are sent a day; and 8 billion hours of videos are watched a month.
Research also shows that change most often begins with the millennial generation starting it. Therefore, environmentalists have to reach millenials – and the best way to do that is through social media.
Although being environmentally conscious is not new, environmental protection agencies, organizations and “go green” campaigns are relatively new to social media and the Internet.
Environmental blogs such as Greenwire and informational sites such as EnviroLink Network began to appear around 1996.
While highly informative, lengthy reads with few pictures fail to capture people’s (like myself) attention.
Facebook pages such as the official World Wildlife Federation and Friends of the Earth pages, have been more successful. The Guardian Environment Twitter page has hundreds of thousands of followers.
The Big Ask environmental network advertises on social media pages. The shock value is intense, and it captures our attention.
When I see something that shocks or disgusts me, not only do I remember it more, I am more likely to share it with others. An example of this is an ad I saw. The polar bear was muscle just dragging around its skin, and the caption said: “The earth is heating up.”
After that, an act for change.org to sign a petition to protect the environment more popped up, and I signed it. It was easy and made me feel like I was able to help by doing something so small.
Soon, the topics were networked – flowed through multiple forms of communication – on Twitter, Facebook and even Tumblr.
When the change.org petition floated around via Facebook and Twitter, the picture eventually made its way back to me.
Thus microvolunteering applies not just to me, but to my entire generation. The easier and quicker it is to do something, especially something that doesn’t immediately benefit us, the more likely we are to do it.
I believe that environmental advocacy and groups will continue to pursue and push the envelope of venues.
I know that I tend to pay more attention to Facebook advertisements, tweets and even apps than I do to traditional media or just general avenues.
As a generation and world that is increasingly social media addicted and affluent, bringing it to awareness and persuading it to take action will be more successful through social media and online.