Digital mediums: channelling world change

Some of the world’s brightest minds are meeting in New York this month to discuss the inspiring possibilities of using social media to leverage change for good

Now in its third year, The 2012 Social Good Summit works within contemporary parametres to unlock the potential of online technologies and embrace the power of social media to make the world a better place, free from poverty and deprivation.

Taking place in New York on 22-24 September, the global conference is held during UN Week and supported by the United Nations Foundation and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. It champions the potential of bringing together big thinkers, global leaders and technology pioneers and charity activists to act on their ideas.

The conference agenda is set to explore the possibilities for communities and audiences to connect with each other through social media activity and galvanize a growing online audience to get involved with development initiatives at a grass roots level.

In New York, the speakers attracting attention with dynamic approaches to enacting social good include actor and UNESCO Goodwill ambassador Forest Whitaker and Todd Park, the White House’s chief technology officer. Other speakers set to present innovative solutions to the UN’s Millennium Development Goals include Susan Smith Ellis, Chief Executive Officer of (RED), a global marketing company whose partnerships help combat the AIDS pandemic in Africa; Asi Burak, Co-President of Games for Change, a movement to raise the quality and reach of social impact games; and Claire Diaz-Ortiz who leads social innovation at Twitter, Inc and is author of Twitter for Good: Change the World one Tweet at a Time.

The concept of using new media to effect change is very much built into the DNA of Dubai-based social media platform Go Make A Difference,, a company that fuses ecommerce, social media and social action. The company, which launched earlier this year, envisages that by leveraging the dedicated philanthropy section the business will raise US$7bn for the United Nations World Food Programme.

“We all have the ability to add some value to the global community, either offering products and services or by helping to generate business for others,” says founder and CEO Shabbir Adamji. “GoMad Inc has an exclusive Memorandum of Understanding, MoU, with the UN’s World Food Programme, where we support their cause of fighting hunger world wide,” he adds. “Every dollar that we donate, we feed four school children – this will help our new generation be more healthy to shape a better future for themselves.”

The site stands out as a social media platform with a conscience and a business with a strategy for both profit and social return. There is no doubt that complex problems require complex solutions but as we move towards being a networked society, elements of the giving back chain can be simple, engaging and fun. As Adamji urges, Go Make A Difference.

The 2012 Social Good Summit’s partners are Mashable, 92nd Street Y, the United Nations Foundation, Ericsson, the United Nations Development Programme, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.