Youth Day commemorates the day when 20 000 young people came together to catalyse positive change, altering the course of the South African story forever. Throughout history, young people have been powerful agents of change. Think: Joan of Arc, Pablo Picasso, Che Guevara, Mozart, Steve Biko, Helen Keller, Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela and — the Beatles!
Now, more than ever, young people carry an immense responsibility to foster global understanding and peace through creating awareness: to protect and nurture our planet, poverty alleviation, HIV/AIDS, cancer and the healing of humanity from addictions and abuse. Today, however, young people can effect even more dynamic and widespread change thanks to the phenomenal Web-based resources they have at their disposal to disseminate information, forge connections, collaborate/join forces, share resources and ignite hope, compassion and – ultimately – a call to action.
The link between social media and organized activism throughout the world has been confirmed by a number of investigative studies. Pew Research’s survey concluded that social media is highly popular and extensively utilized in both developed and lower-income, developing countries, meaning that the latter are not left out in the cold when it comes to creating awareness and causing positive, widespread change in their own countries and abroad.
Incredibly successful HIV-prevention projects have specifically chosen to use Twitter and Facebook as a means of garnering statistics and information in order to continue tailoring their awareness campaigns to more effectively target their audience, empower through education and thereby boost prevention!
As an advocacy tool, social media is a highly effective game-changer because it contains the two critical keys that unlock hearts and minds — and endless numbers of them: communication and global-reach. Financially, non-profit organisations that use social media raise 6 times more in funds, donations and support than those NPOs that shy away from ‘technology’.
If 20 000 poverty-stricken, seemingly resourceless youths could effect such nation-changing transformation, just imagine what a world full of courageous young hearts and inspired brains united by social media could do!
So be sure when you step.
Step with care and great tact.
And remember that life’s A Great Balancing Act.
And will you succeed? Yes! You will, indeed! (98 and ¾ percent guaranteed.)
Kid, you’ll move mountains.
( Dr. Seuss, Oh, The Places You’ll Go! )