The multiplication of Flash Causes

Via Marcia Stepanek’s Cause Global blog:

(excerpt only)

Earlier this week, something happened involving Twitter that has convinced me and a lot of other social media watchers that on-the-fly “flash” advocacy—rapidly, self-assembled groups formed to instantly solve a problem—has already arrived, big-time.

On Tuesday, a Chicago design executive, David Armano, posted an emotional tweet on his Twitter feed to request help for Daniela, an acquaintance facing urgent family and economic problems. We’ve all heard about social media appeals but this one turned into a genuine flash cause, as Armano’s online social network of more than 8,000 followers galvanized into action. Within a few hours on Tuesday, Armano’s appeal had raised more than $5,000. By Wednesday, thousands of sympathetic tweets had poured into his Twitter feed along with donations topping $11,000. By noon today, the cash raised had exceeded $15,000—and growing. “OK friends,” Daniela tweeted this morning, “thank-you for an unforgettable day and a half [sic]. I’m cooked. Really am so proud at how you came through.” [One of the people who donated to Daniela called the flash group, in a tweet, “the social media compassion mafia” and congratulated it for its generous and rapid response.]

The significance here is that Daniela’s digital rescue isn’t an isolated phenomenon. For months now, people in social networks have begun to self-organize into flash causes using Twitter—as well as other forms of social media.”

Marcia also recommends:

“For more on the rise of self-organized, online cause groups, see this video clip (below) of Clay Shirky addressing the recent Pop!Tech 2008 conference. Social media, Shirky says, are encouraging people to “design [new groups] for generosity” and are—in the process—“reversing everything we’re used to” about traditional philanthropy.”

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