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Tithing Time: Using Social Media for Good

January 5, 2011

Here we are in 2011 already.  It has been some time since I’ve blogged at all, final exams and clients being what they are (worthy of time!).  But today I came across a short excerpt I thought I’d share, from the thought leaders at Harvard Business Review.  The article is about the choices we make around the use of social media, and outlines strategies to improve the quality of both your online time and offline relationships, and here is a direct quote:

What problems am I choosing to fix with the help of the Internet? The village that needs a new water pump. The prospect of climate change. The aunt who needs a new beau. The creative vacuum left by the implosion of your garage band. Whether it’s a problem for you, your community or the world, the Internet can help you fix it. Tithing 10% of your time online — from micro-volunteering to online activism to writing a heartfelt note to a lonely friend — is a structured way to ensure that the Internet becomes part of the solution instead of part of the problem. This can be the year in which you get serious about the Internet as the single most promising problem-solver in a world that faces many fast-growing problems.

Tithing time!  What a great phrase and great idea, to boot.  I know when I get on line, much of my time — other than work-or-MBA-related research — is used to play Scrabble with a dedicated cohort of friends.  Not exactly world-changing, although my vocabulary is getting better daily (“indican”, “bice” and “whilom”, anyone?).  How much change could I do if I donated 10% of my online time to something that made the world just a little better?

So, this year, I am going to try something new.  I am not sure what that will look like, exactly, but when I do, I’ll be back to you.  And while I am sure it will involve some personal things, I am also sure it will have repercussions for things that organizations can also do en masse that will make the worlds they operate in just a little better, too.

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