Using Social Media to Raise Awareness

24 01 2012

By Molly Venturini (@mollv)

PR Intern Lindsay Noack of Red Shoes PR came into my public relations journalism class earlier this month to talk about internships, social media and networking. After hearing about how she got her jobs, mostly through social media sources like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, I started thinking about my own experiences with these social networks. I have an account with all three and use them on a daily basis, mainly to check/make updates or search something of interest.

I think the term social can mean many things now-a-days when paired with these sites because it is much more than logging on to chat with a few friends. You can find and follow news about businesses, celebrities and heads of major corporations, or even foundations, movements you support and hobbies that interest you. Millions of people are now wired in and it has become a major part of our future – this is a big deal!

These thoughts are still running through my head as I sign in my Facebook page and check a message notification. The message is from a previous co-worker of mine and reads as follows:

Okay pretty ladies, it’s that time of year again…support of Breast Cancer Awareness!! So we all remember last year’s game writing your bra color as your status? Or the way we like to have our handbag handy? Last year, so many people took part that it made national news and the constant updating of status reminded everyone why we’re doing this and helped raise awareness!! Do NOT tell any males what the statuses mean…keep them guessing!! And please copy and paste (in a message) this to all your female friends!

The idea is to choose the month you were born and the day you were born. Pass this on to the GIRLS ONLY and let’s see how far it reaches around….The last one about the bra went around all over the world!

Your status should say:
“I am going to________________for___________ months.”

Use your birth month for the place you’ll live. For example: January=Mexico, February=London, March=Miami, etc. 

I remember about two years ago, women everywhere were posting colors as their status on Facebook. Unfamiliar with what was going on, I “Googled” the craze and found out they were posting their bra color for breast cancer awareness. The bit about keeping it from the men is what I think made it so popular because that cuts out half the population from knowing what’s going on. So, recognizing this as an opportunity to take part in the awareness of breast cancer, I decided to post my own status.

The power of social media is shown in many cases here: status’ making national news and encouraging people around the world to get checked for breast cancer, and on a smaller scale, in my own social circle. After posting the country to which the month of my birthday represents (France) and my birth date (12), I received many Facebook notifications, phone calls and texts. I don’t know the rules of this chain, so I decided it was a good idea to tell those who contacted me that I will not be living abroad for a year and was just taking part in a good cause.

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