Yesterday, Mashable and the 92Y in New York City held the second annual Social Good Summit, an event focused around individuals and organizations working online to promote social change, and social good. Last year I had the opportunity to attend in-person, and this year participated through the livestream; but like the hundreds of those in the room, and additional hundreds following live on the web, I was humbled by the sheer diversity of thought, action, and promise the technology and platforms we use to engage and communicate online today are having in the struggle for social justice and change worldwide.
One overriding theme of the event that was hard to ignore was that all our evolving technology, in all of it’s innovative promise and glory, means nothing without the underlying humanity and instinctive need to connect and work toward the betterment of others. As one of the distinguished speakers noted, we need to move past measuring innovation and progress by our ability to act, but by action itself.
This year’s line-up featured a set of well-known (and lesser-known) industry leaders and visionaries, including CNN’s Soledad O’Brien, actors Geena Davis and Edward Norton, as well as media mogul Ted Turner (who hilariously engaged the audience with his stream of consciousness, from the evolution of print media to issues of war and peace). The line-up marked a drastic change from last year’s event, which featured many speakers an audience outside the non-profit tech or early-adopters community might not have known. With these well-known speakers, their livestream was consistently viewed by hundreds of participants.
For notes on many of the speakers, and to get a better idea of the concepts discussed, check out some notes I took throughout the summit (just click on the image to view):
With one eye on the presentation, another on the stream of #socialgood tweets, and my third eye toward taking copious notes, I couldn’t help notice the consistency of message from speaker after speaker- that our technology and social media tools are exactly that, tools, that promote and engage an audience and supporters for the greater good, but cannot be relied upon solely to bring about large-scale change. You can do a helluva lot with twitter, you can organize a rally on facebook, you can receive donations from your web presence; but without underlying strategies and continued engagement you can easily miss opportunities to develop supporters into donors, activists into volunteers, and small-scale change into something life-changing.
One particular speaker, Howard Buffett, really rallied the audience to understand that it is no longer enough to simply empower people to change the world, but inspire them to do so. You can view his talk here; it’s well-worth watching.
I also wanted to share a collection of tweets from the stream of participants throughout the day. It was inspiring to watch a continuously updating stream of thought on social good; how to change the world and inspire others to do the same. I’ve embedded a selection below, and you can click the image to see more.
All in all, Mashable again delivered on a worthwhile and inspiring event for activists, organizers, individuals, and organizations seeking to clarify their mission, effectively work toward the greater good, and promote a world in which we connect with one another to lift society to more amazing heights.
UPDATE: Mashable has shared some photos from the event. You can check them out here.