Thursday, September 26, 2013

Social Goodness

After a day of travel, recovery, and catching up on work, I bring to you the final installment on my experience at the Social Good Summit; three days that have left me both exhausted and invigorated.

After working in the disaster space for a while, the community can feel small, which made attending this event a welcome opportunity to gain perspective and meet some new faces along the way. And while I may have some beef with certain aspects of the summit, it doesn’t change the fact that listening to people who are passionate and actively engaged in what they’re doing is something that I really enjoy.

So…what was it all about?

Some of the messages that were hammered home were: getting engaged, creating social movements, and empowering millennials. I realize that based on those cliched takeaways that I could've attended a conference on any number of topics, but that's what was scribbled over and over in my notes. And while they may be overused, it doesn't make them any less valid or important. Many of the speakers/panelists from Mashable to [Insert successful nonprofit here] have gained prominence and generated impact because they've been able to strike the right balance of the above factors.

With that said, there were two speakers who didn't represent organizations or foundations, they came as emissaries of two important ideas related to some of the consequences in the increase in ubiquity of social media.

1. Doug Rushkoff. Author, Communications Theorist, and all around smart guy gave a very insightful and brief talk on an interesting question: "What happens, When Everything Happens Now?" Below is his talk from a previous speaking engagement but is basically the same and here is his website:

2. Matt Wallaert. Behavioral Scientist, Entrepreneur, and also a smart guy who talked about: "Competing Pressures: The Struggle for the Future of Attention." As the tools to create movements around ideas and causes become more readily available, the number of messages competing for our attention and our dollars will increase. Matt talked about ways around our limited spans of attention, but his talk reminds me that the proliferation of organizations and causes may have a negative impact on social giving and the social impact space as a whole.

Was there enough talk of Disasters? Definitely not, but through my conversations and learning about my new champion President Yudhoyono, I’ve also stumbled onto something called the “Hyogo Framework for Action: 2005-2015. Building the Resilience of Nations and Communities in Disasters.” Something I will happily read and no doubt comment on. I also learned about some new nonprofits working to end Malaria and those who are trying to raise awareness around social issues that are impacting every country on the planet.

So while the Summit didn’t fit my pre-conceived notions of what I thought it should be, it left me with a lot of ideas, a lot of reading, and hopefully a little smarter and more aware of the challenges facing the world around us, and better equipped to tell that story through this blog.

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