Earlier this month, TEDxChange 2013 took place in Seattle, Washington. TED talks and TEDx events have gone viral over the past few years, taking place in cities and communities across the globe. TEDxChange 2013 focused on the theme of “positive disruption” and featured a speaker from our own community here in Greater Washington. Julie Dixon, Deputy Director of the Georgetown Center for Social Impact Communication (CSIC) and a friend of the Catalogue, was one of the six speakers at TEDxChange 2013, talking about social change and the currency of influence.
At Georgetown, Julie considers the intersection of digital media and social good, and presented the idea in her TED talk that social influence is perhaps the most valuable resource that each of us possess today. In the nonprofit and philanthropy sectors, the focus is often on mobilizing money from donors, time and skills from volunteers, but few organizations actively ask for supporters to use their influence on behalf of the common good. Julie posed the audience with a question — do likes on Facebook and retweets on Twitter really matter? — and definitively answered it with a yes. A well-crafted tweet or Facebook comment has the potential to find a kidney donor, raise money for the victim of bullying, or gain attention for local, state, or national legislation.
In Washington, influence is the currency of the day in for-profit and government circles. Isn’t it time that the not-for-profit sectors start using for social benefit as well?