SOCIAL MEDIA FOR SOCIAL GOOD: ANALYZING THE ROLE OF SOCIAL MEDIA IN MOBILIZING FOR SOCIAL CAUSES

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ABSTRACT

 

Social media has grown tremendously in the last decade evolving from just a channel through which to connect with friends but also a platform for doing business and running all kinds of communication campaigns. With this growth and metamorphosis, it has clearly emerged that social media, like any other media, is just a tool and can be used for good or bad depending of whoever is using it. As the issues such as pornography and cyber bullying have emerged, good uses of social media such running customer-centric businesses and engaging in global discussions have also arose.In the same spirit, social media users have been seen to rally around a cause; give money, donate blood, find a lost child among other things. This phenomenon of using social media in mobilizing for social causes was the core of this study.This study sought to find the role social media plays in social good campaigns. The study was guided by the following questions: (i) What are the strategies used in social media mobilization campaigns in Kenya? (ii) What is the role of social media influencers in social media mobilization campaigns?and (iii) How do messages in social media campaigns diffuse and spread?The research sampled 21 social media campaign managers and 10 general social media users in a bid to understand managing a social media campaign and various ways users engage in social causes online respectively. The findings reveal that social media does indeed play a major role in mobilizing for social cause, revealing the importance of strategies employed as well as the role social media influencers play. Further results indicatethe need to evaluate each campaign from the start to the end – information that helps in planning future mobilization campaigns.

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