Wednesday, August 25

Taking Media Out Of Social Media: CitizenGulf

Citizen GulfIn Boston, it will take place at The Precinct Bar. In Houston, you can hook up at the Continental Club. In Santa Monica, it's the Sulkin Secant Gallery.

These locations and seventeen more across the United States have become the local connections for a national event to do one thing right. Hundreds of people are working together, online and offline, to raise funds for fishing families impacted by the BP oil spill in the Gulf Coast.

While each event location varies in planned entertainment and environmental awareness, they all show solidarity in hosting gatherings loosely themed around a New Orleans-style event with live jazz, blues, or Zydeco music and speakers knowledgeable about the environmental impact. Most local events were coordinated by the Social Media Club chapters from coast to coast.

CitizenGulf National Day of Action

In addition to these 20 events, smaller unofficial fundraisers are taking place across the nation. And for people who are unable to attend, there are plenty of ways to help support area fishermen, including Bloggers Unite, where bloggers and other social media site owners can list their online contributions in building awareness.

You can help too. Check the event listings to find an event location near you and post a link on your Facebook page or send up a shout out on Twitter to let your friends know how they can make a difference. If they cannot attend, CitizenEffect is coordinating online donations for this nationwide effort.

There are more ways you can help. Take a look at the various Pepsi Refresh Gulf initiatives proposed by dozens of individuals and organizations. Vote for you favorites, including the Gulf Coast Benefit, which is directly tied to CitizenGulf National Day of Action. (Pepsi has pledged $1.3 million toward ideas that specifically benefit the Gulf Coast.) There are seven days left to vote as of Aug. 25.

CitizenGulf And Social Media.

CitizenGulf National Day of Action represents one of the best uses of social media, coordinating events online to host simultaneous activities across the country in an effect to raise funds for a tangible project that benefits people in need. You can learn more about the plight of fishermen's families at Liquid [Hip], an online review site that helped build early awareness after Geoff Livingston's inspired call for support.

Proceeds from online donations and event donations will be awarded to Catholic Charities Archdiocese of New Orleans. This benefactor was chosen because it is deeply entrenched in supporting afflicted communities and well-suited to developing educational programs that benefit fishing families.

CitizenEffect chose the benefactor after traveling to the area and surveying residents. It made sense to choose the nonprofit best equipped to provide support and one that area residents readily supported as opposed to creating a duplicate program.

Likewise, CitizenEffect, along with its partners, has done something few event organizations do. Rather than "own" the event and attempt to drive people to a singular location or one-time contribution, CitizenGulf National Day of Action allows people to help in whatever way they wish. No action is too small or contribution overlooked, easily making it a best practice in effecting social change. They should be commended.

How about you? Do you have an extra 30 seconds today to help build awareness for this worthwhile cause? If you do, please send up a tweet, post, or shout out to your friends and family. I am almost certain others would do it for you if the roles were reversed. Good night and good luck. And thank you.
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