Social Media for Social Good Advent Calendar #adventsmsg

Santa will be late this year (photo by Wayne Butterworth on Flickr)

It’s the Season of Goodwill, isn’t it? Well, actually, that phrase really irks me as I think it’s used by some people as an excuse to limit their quota of goodwill to a defined period of the year. For me, every day should be the Season of Goodwill, and that’s why I use the hashtag #365goodwill on Twitter.

Nevertheless, there are certain traditions at this time of the year, and, this year I am going to join in with at least one of them.

Starting on Monday 1st of December, I am launching the Social Media for Social Good Advent Calendar. Every day, for 25 days, up to, and including Christmas Day, I will be posting a short video clip with a little bit of my thinking on using Social Media to help make the world a better place.

So, watch this space, every day during Advent. You can follow all the clips on the hashtag #adventsmsg on Twitter, or by clicking on the tag #adventsmsg on this blog. So, if you miss one, you can still find it.

I hope you find this useful. I intend to have fun making the videos, which is partly what it’s all about really.


The possible advantages of the age of no privacy. In Rotherham, Rochdale, Derby…..

Young people are all over the internet. Facebooking, Instagramming, Snapchatting, and Vineing their way to a digital future. Some are making fortunes out of 6 second videos; others are getting themselves into trouble, sharing things that really shouldn’t be in public spaces, and which may come back to haunt them in the future careers and relationships. Gradually, many of them are waking up to the implications of permanent loss of privacy, and they are moving away from openness towards more private platforms like Whatsapp, and from permanence, towards more temporary media such as Snapchat.

That is the picture that many people have of today’s youth. But, it is by no means a universal truth. Is it true, for instance, of the 1400 (at least) children abused in Rotherham? Or of those abused in similar circumstances in Rochdale, Oxford, Derby, and who knows elsewhere? Were they sharing images and videos of where they were all the time? Were they raving on Facebook about their new “boyfriends”? Were they posting pictures on Instagram of the men they were spending time with? I’m pretty sure the answers to all these questions is “no”.

We worry, rightly, about how some young people seem to disregard the notion of personal privacy; and there are serious, legitimate, concerns about this, particularly with regard to vulnerable children. But, could it not be said that there is sometimes a positive side to reductions in privacy? I know, from my point of view, that I am glad that my children grew up in the era of mobile phones when they could contact me wherever they were. And I have been concerned over some of the things they have shared on social media. But, after all, what was purely playground high jinks to most of us, is now public for all the world to see.

It is evident that the testimonies of some of those abused by the likes of Jimmy Savile have encouraged others to come forward with their own stories. I was someone who had well-founded suspicions of Savile, based on what people who had experienced his presence had told me, but like so many others, I had no evidence. I cannot believe he would have got away with his abuse if his victims had been able to share their stories on social media.  So, I won’t stand for the argument that loss of privacy is a trend to be deplored 100%. Sometimes privacy can be a cloak which allows evil people to get away with abuse.