5 times social media led to real social change

By Ilan Nass, Fueled

In recent years, social media has played a key role in the spread of revolutionary ideas. It was the catalyst behind the Occupy Wall Street movement, where organizers across the globe connected and synchronized their activity. It fostered the spirit of the Arab Spring and gave a voice to the otherwise voiceless masses of oppressed peoples throughout the Middle East and North Africa. There’s no doubt that social media has been a beacon of hope for many causes, shedding light on issues that may remain obscure if left to the corporate media agenda.

Social media’s influence on public discourse has directly affected international policy making, but these technologies have also saved the lives of children across the globe by raising awareness around the issues affecting them and raising the funds needed to make their lives better. We compiled a few examples of how social media has helped save the lives of children:

Epic Thanks

Stacey Monk, founder of the grassroots organization Epic Change, was an early adopter of social media. In 2008, Epic Change hosted Tweetsgiving, encouraging Twitter users to share what they’re thankful for along with a $10 donation. The campaign raised over $11,000, and the funds were used to build a boarding school for girls in Tanzania in 2008. Ever since, the event has been known as Epic Thanks.

Vaccinations > Likes

UNICEF’s mission is to serve underprivileged children around the world. In one of its recent Facebook campaigns in Sweden, the organization set out to change the way we value social media support. In various posters and videos, UNICEF lamented the importance of actual donations versus social media engagement with its “Likes Vaccinate Zero Children” campaign. The nonprofit wanted to show users that though likes help raise awareness, donations are what really save children’s lives. But, of course, likes are still always appreciated.

Water Is Life

Nothing sticks with us more than a reminder of how good we really have it, especially when it comes to things we take for granted like water. Lack of clean water supply is a major issue that affects impoverished communities across the globe and directly threatens the lives of young children. In 2012, Water Is Life took to Twitter and Youtube with its #FirstWorldProblems campaign, combating the oft insensitive hashtag with 3rd world realities. The campaign, dubbed as a hashtag killer, sparked immediate response, and Water Is Life raised over 1 million days of clean water for families in Haiti.

Honorable Mentions

In 2012, the name “Joseph Kony” took the world by storm. The viral hit, #KONY2012, shed light on massive abductions of children in sub-Saharan Africa. The campaign came with many critics, however, as activists were upset by the lack of action proposition.

More recently, #BringBackOurGirls, a similar campaign raising awareness around the abduction of young girls in Nigeria, has caught the eye of social media users. Unlike it’s predecessor, #BringBackOurGirls has resulted in mass rallies around the country, and organizers look to play an active role in developing policy to help protect Nigerian girls from future abductions.


We are, an award winning mobile app design and development house based in New York and London. At Fueled, we don't just build apps; with teams of designers, developers and strategists based in New York, Chicago and London, we create visually stunning products that redefine the technical boundaries of today's mobile development standards. We've built award-winning iPhone, iPad and Android apps used by millions of people for clients ranging from Fortune 100 companies to up and coming startups including Barney's, Coca Cola, UrbanDaddy, JackThreads and MTV. We hold ourselves to the highest standard of usability, stability and design in every project that we touch.

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