6 times social media made the world a better place

by Danielle Schwerin June 30, 2017

Sometimes it can feel like it’s tough to make a real difference in this big old world of ours. With the rise of social media, it can feel even harder to make a difference. We can see causes online, and hit ‘like’ – but we’re not sure if it’s actually making a difference.

This ‘liking’ instead of donating time or money has been dubbed ‘slacktivism’ or ‘clicktivism’, and it’s been getting a pretty bad wrap for a few years now. We find ourselves asking; ‘can social media actually create real meaningful change in the world?’

Yes it can.  In fact, to celebrate Social Media Day 2017, we are shouting from the rooftops, celebrating the very awesome ways that social media can change the world.

We’ve got a countdown of our favourite inspiring and innovative social media campaigns that have launched over the past couple of years which have made a very real change in the world.

Let’s check ‘em out.


Why we love it:

By using humour and everyone’s favourite emoji, steaming poop, this campaign shined a light on a really crappy problem (pun, absolutely, 100%, intended), sanitation. More than 2.3 billion people have no access to toilets. This lack of quality sanitation leads to over 300,000 deaths a year.

Users were prompted to download the app and #giveashit by creating their own poop emoji, share it with friends, and donate to WaterAid. Using entertainers, activists and social media stars, the campaign generated more than 230 million impressions in over 53 countries. The campaign brought more than 11,000 new supporters to WaterAid.

ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

Why we love it:

The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge was one of the biggest social media campaigns of 2014. Casting our memories back to the challenge, it called for people to pour a bucket of icy water over themselves – then nominate their friends to do it too. This was helped by the fact that some serious big-name celebrities got involved – from Taylor Swift to Tom Cruise; George R R Martin to George W Bush; David Beckham to LeBron James. Seriously – the list goes on!

With the official ALS video getting seventeen million views, and the campaign raising a staggering $115 million in six weeks, we’re absolutely stoked to find out that two years later, it actually resulted in a breakthrough in the research. That’s some pretty “ice” news at the end of the day (yep, again with the puns)!

Black And Blue Dress

Why we love it:

Sometimes, jumping on the back of something that is going viral can be a very powerful way to spread a message. “The Dress” was a meme which was huge in 2015. Due to a visual illusion, some people saw a specific photo of a dress as yellow and gold, and some as black and blue (which, by the way, WAS black and blue).

The Salvation Army in South Africa created a tweet off the back of this to raise awareness for domestic violence towards women.

The result? Retweet 16,000 times and the start of an international conversation using the #StopAbuseAgainstWomen hashtag. 

Water Is Life

Why we love it:

In another clever use of leveraging a popular hashtag, Water is Life piggybacked off the #FirstWorldProblems hashtag.

#FirstWorldProblems is a hashtag used when people complain about something that is annoying, but they recognise the problemis a luxury that those living in a first world would experience (and are, in turn, a bit silly).

Some great examples are:


Water Is Life made a video where children in third world countries read out tweets of #firstworldproblems, really putting a stark contrast on how absurd these tweets are.

They used the hashtag to promote donations, and the result led to an influx of funding to provide a million days worth of clean water to those in need.

Havas Peep Show

Why we love it:

Advertising agency Havas created their own movement to encourage women to have regular checkups for breast cancer. Creating a racy installation in Chicago claiming it was a ‘peep show’, viewers were instead greeted with messages reminding them to get a check up.

With Havas donating a dollar for every tweet using the #HavasPeepShow hashtag, over $18000 was raised for Breast Cancer Awareness.

This is a brilliant campaign, showing how big businesses can use their skills, to not only raise awareness, but also donate to the issues that matter to them.

Puppy Love

Why we love it:

Social dating site Tinder is used by millennials in their quest for love. So one animal rescue organisation in New York used Tinder to find loving homes for abandoned dogs. Creating profiles for their dogs, respondees could then arrange a time to meet the dog and see if they were a match with their forever home. Some might say they were barking mad for using Tinder to rehome dogs – but we think it’s pretty paw-some (last one, we promise, mainly because it’s the end of the blog post).

Sure, there are a lot of selfies on social media, and some clicktivism. But well-designed social media campaigns can lead to real social change – and we think that is worth celebrating! Happy #SMDay!

Are there any other campaigns that you’ve seen leading to real change? Let us know in the comments!