One of the best things that have come out of social media is just that – the social aspect. There are so many happy stories of people getting behind a cause, finding people they love or helping someone who is sick. Social media is the fastest way to pass around a message or an idea and watch it catch fire.
Kickstarter is a great example of how the internet community can come together to support new and creative projects around the world. Basically it works with someone coming up with an idea, “pitching” it via the Kickstarter website (while remaining upfront about possible set backs), setting a time limit for crowdfunding and then wait for people to fund it. It’s not for profit, the extra funds get used for the project as well as “kickbacks” for the funders, or backers. For example, you may get the first copy of the product, tickets to the movie premiere, attendance for filming, etc. The individuals that pledge money to a project only get that money taken from them if enough pledges are received to meet the target.
This past year I’ve helped to fund two projects The Sword and Laser online book club and the making of the Veronica Mars movie. The Sword and Laser book club started as a successful podcast and branched into a YouTube video show when they partnered with Geek and Sundry. Due to funding issues, their show was cancelled. I love the podcast and the show, so when I saw the opportunity for a “second season” I wanted to help out. I loved being able to do this, to help (even in a small way) to support something I’m passionate about (books) and to see people who produce good content be able to continue to do so.
The making of the Veronica Mars movie was one of the biggest success stories for Kickstarter. It started with a promo video that went viral and is currently the third most successful project on the website. The video was funny and clever, featured the old cast members, and appealed to Veronica Mars fans to help them get their movie out. I believe the reason it was so successful is that it was done for the fans, years after the show was cancelled the fans were still requesting a movie be made.
Obviously this is just one example of how social media has the ability to create a positive change for many people. The internet produces many inspiring ideas, for me Bitcoins (although not a social media platform) will be the next big thing watch. I think it has a great potential to change the way we do business on a global scale and it will be interesting to see what happens.