I have noticed a bit of a trend recently among some of the more popular characters that I follow on social media. There is an increasing tendency to use their powers of popularity to help out with a certain cause or issue. I’m not talking about the friend from high school with 2000 other Facebook friends, but people I have never met before and I am following simply because they are adding interesting content to social media and have open pages so that complete strangers can follow them. One that immediately comes to mind is Hamilton the Hipster cat on Instagram.
This is a cat that I follow on Instagram, (yes I really like cats, it has even become a bit of a running joke among my friends) who is famous for having fur that makes him look like he has a moustache. He has almost 300,000 followers. As Hamilton has become more popular, his Instagram feed has moved away from images solely of the famous mustached cat, to pictures of other cats available for adoption and posts advocating support for local animal shelters as well as proper pet care.
There are numerous other examples on social media like this. They range from Justin Beiber retweeting a plea for organ donors leading to thousands of new organ donor registrations, to The Chive (a popular website and phone application featuring meme’s and photographs), which has taken to posting about various charitable causes to raise money.
In one case, The Chive ran a story about an infant with brittle bone disease and within 6 hours raised over $100,000 to purchase a new wheelchair. Celebrities using their fame for good isn’t anything new, but using social media to reach more people than ever before is. Perhaps Voltaire’s famous quote “with great power comes great responsibility” can be reworked in this case to “with great reach comes great responsibility.” When a picture posted or a statement update reaches thousands of strangers, it is nice to know that some people are using their social media presence to try and make things just a little bit better out there in the real world.
Have you seen any examples of social media for a cause lately?