In September last year Liberty842 took me board – a fresh-faced graduate from the London College of Communications. Tucked comfortably under Liberty842’s award winning wings I was introduced to the intricate online fabric that binds social and media together.
I recently won a place on Vodaphone’s World of Difference scheme. 11,000 people registered for the scheme and I was one of the lucky 500 awarded a grant to work for the charity of my choice for two months. The short essay that I entered as part of the application process was a passionate strategy that aimed to translate much of the social media training I had gained through working with Liberty842 and channel it into the charity’s own social media platforms and push forth their presence online.
My chosen charity, Carousel, facilitate people with learning disabilities to reach their potential through the arts and media. They also run the award-winning Oska Bright Film Festival, the world’s first film festival that is run by and for people with learning disabilities. The festival has already achieved international status touring Australia, Canada and Czech Republic. I was attracted to Carousels approach to the people that they work with, offering them recognition and support, rather than help. The possibilities that social networking and sharing of content present could make a considerable difference to an organization such as Carousel. I chose Carousel because I believe that sharing with them what I have learnt from Liberty842 would be a valuable experience.
On Monday 28th of February I traveled to Birmingham where all 500 winners of Vodaphone’s World of Difference scheme gathered in the Custard Factory (housed in Birmingham’s Arts and Media Quarter) to be congratulated by its directors and advocates. One of the brightest smiles that day was worn by one of Liberty842’s illustrious clients, fashion guru Gok Wan, an advocate and active promoter of the scheme. Both he and the speakers did a fantastic job of emphasizing the opportunities that all the winners had to make a difference. It felt encouraging to see a face familiar with the very company that had given me the confidence to go forward for the position at Carousel. Just like the medium it represents, Liberty842 appeared to be everywhere.
During the day the winners were lead off in groups, given phones and a crash course in tweeting and blogging about their experiences and achievements during their placements. The important role that social media would play through out the scheme was unveiled – the message was clear, World of Difference winners had the power to spread good will on a national scale, inspire others and encourage social change and mobilization.
The power of social media to drive campaigns faster and further is what seems to fill so many now with confidence and hope. If people want to make a difference they needn’t feel they have to walk alone towards change. The true magic of social media seems to be the feeling of united-ness that sits at the ends of finger tips everywhere. Communities can unite with other communities, charities with other charities, big brands with individuals to exchange messages of aspirations, achievements and criticisms on a level playing field. This was the feeling at the Custard Factory on that day, it buzzed through out the building and ignited the energy amongst Vodaphone’s new team of difference makers. The revolution is here. The revolution will be tweeted.