Cafe Witness

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Social Media Twist: Big Brothers Big Sisters Is Blogging

Last weekend's post about the danger of confusing the APPEARANCE of activity with activity itself affords me an opportunity to point out some folks who ARE taking action through social media: the Big Blog, created by the folks at Pittsburgh's chapter of Big Brothers Big Sisters.

In a recent email, BBBS's Communications Director, Ian DeJesus, said:
The purpose of the blog is to give the public a glimpse of what it is like to volunteer as a mentor. With any luck, these stories and testimonials will serve as an inspiration for others to become a Big Brother or Big Sister.
The optimist in me sees this as a great opportunity for BBBS to connect with new people. The power of stories from actual volunteers or mentored kids will be more effective than simple statistics or altruism at hooking potential volunteers on a relatable, human level. Plus, these kinds of one-on-one stories are what social media, at its roots, is really all about.

The cynic in me worries that this approach could easily slide into a thinly-guised marketing ploy, using potentially electric channels to service an un-engaging, top-down message about one's obligation to give back to the community.

Either way, the realist in me is heartened to see that social media tools continue to carry the conversation beyond the fishbowl of us, the evangelists and pot-stirrers. If even one child's life is improved by a volunteer who stumbles across Big Brothers Big Sisters on their blog, is that not a success?

Your standards may vary, but in this case, I'd say it certainly would be.

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