4 in 5 see digital technology as a “game-changer” for positive social change.
Walden University creates interesting reports on the use of social media and social change. In the research below, they characterize the types of people engaged in social change throughout the world and their willingness to express feelings through digital interactions.
For me the primary finding is that the socially conscious consumer is digitally savvy and willing to express themselves more than other categories. All groups express themselves digitally but within the framework of numbers, I chose to feature the socially conscious consumer.
80 to 94 percent of socially conscious consumers are engaged in digital communications to support their causes.
“In Brazil, Canada, Germany, Mexico and the U.S., Socially Conscious Consumers are more likely than social change agents overall to have educated others about a cause or issue in the past six months to engage in positive social change.
In Brazil, China, Mexico and the U.S., Socially Conscious Consumers spend more time online than social change agents overall.
In Canada, Germany, Mexico and the U.S., Socially Conscious Consumers are more likely than social change agents overall to say that in the next six months they most likely will engage in positive social change through digital technology activities as a contributor (i.e., post information about a cause or issue on a social networking site, comment on other people’s websites about a cause or issue, participate in a real-time, online chat about a cause or issue or sign an online petition for a cause or issue).”
I previously cited data from Walden University that said that eighty percent of Americans see digital technology as key to getting people involved in social change and 4 in 5 see digital technology as a “game-changer” for positive social change.
Helpful for our outreach efforts:
For those of us trying to reach the socially conscious, keeping the categories articulated below in mind as you create content could prove useful to your digital communications and the types of social platforms you choose.
It’s useful to read the full report and examine the beliefs, demographics and characteristics of those involved in all categories before choosing learning styles and types of outreach.
It’s also more important than ever to portray your company or cause as being socially conscious.
New Gallup research:
Also note that according to a recent Gallup report, eighty-three percent in U.S. donated to charity within past year; 65% volunteered.
Considering these numbers, what does your company or organization do to couple causes with your activities?
As revealed in Walden University’s 2013 Social Change Impact Report there are six distinct types of social change agents around the world:
True to the name, Ultracommitted Change-Makers have been known to dedicate their lives to leading positive social change. They may be interested in many different causes, believe strongly in their ability to make a real difference in their communities and feel happy as a result of their involvement. Plugged into technology, these Change-Makers often can be found initiating conversations about social change to others online and feel social change should be taught at a young age.
Religion is a driving force behind Faith-Inspired Givers who cite their faith, not work or school, as a major influence in their commitment to social change. Many sharing this profile tend to be older than other social change agents and tend to be less likely to connect online.
Socially Conscious Consumers
Supporting others who support social change, Socially Conscious Consumers often seek out products and services from companies they perceive as behaving responsibly toward the people and the environment in the communities where they operate.
While other social change agents may be motivated by personal beliefs, Purposeful Participants tend to engage in social change primarily to help them succeed at school or work. Perhaps more pragmatic in nature, many place less importance on being personally involved in social change and are less likely to donate money or services. Among social change agents, Purposeful Participants tend to report the highest levels of personal sacrifice or risk in pursuing social change.
For Casual Contributors, local community issues are most likely to drive their social change activities. While they see social change as important, this group probably is not likely to make it a lifelong commitment or typically act on it. Many are older adults without children and often are not influenced by work or religious beliefs.
Social Change Spectators
While Social Change Spectators have engaged in social change at some point, they may not be active participants. In general, they do not see their actions as impacting positive change in their community and had little experience with participating in social change in their youth. Typically Social Change Spectators do not believe it is important to be personally involved in social change—whether in person or online. Compared with social change agents overall:
For more detailed findings from Walden’s Social Change Impact Report, visit www.WaldenU.edu/impactreport.
Previous articles on this site citing Walden University research: