I started a Social media campaign some few months ago to raise 1000 books for an orphanage. In the course of this campaign, I noticed some interesting developments and learnt a few vital lessons that are worth sharing.
From the very first post and tweet, I noticed a particular group of people. Their only aim was to get themselves noticed with the project. They sent me messages informing me of their support and wish to be recognized as such. I went further by asking what exactly they were bringing on board. All they could tell me was, they ( individuals and groups) have large followings and are well known. So if they shared my post, it will push the campaign. I agreed that was a tangible point. After a few questions, I realized they merely wanted to be associated with the project without actually bring in the books or working towards getting them. Some people only want to enjoy the applause but not ready to induce the sweat.
At the beginning of the project, I thought I had friends in high places who I could fall on for support. In the end, it was my acquaintances and virtual friends who helped the most. I thought I had friends with cars who could help when I needed it most. In the end, it was a taxi driver who I hardly knew who offered his services at first for no cost and subsequently at a very cheap rate. I thought I could fall on my very ‘powerful’ friends to get the five barrels’ of books from a warehouse in Accra down to Kumasi. In the end, it was two young ladies ( a student and a fresh graduate) who collaborated to get the consignment safely to Kumasi. The people we least expect to help end up as our saviours in the end.
I noticed from this project that some people only take delight in nagging about developmental problems and have not even the slightest desire in them to help develop their own societies. We take delight in either talking big or blaming government for every single problem but unwilling to contribute our quota in changing the very predicaments we complain about. We have more than the number of books we targeted but I was not really enthused as I counted the 1, 420th book. Why? Simply because I wanted to push for a local campaign without foreign support.
I am sure if the campaign had a one year life span, the few positive people would have contributed to hitting the target. I learnt that some of the people who talk and nag a lot about societal issues especially on social media are the very ones who do not have a singular desire to put their shoulders to the wheel to change the situation. If you doubt this, anytime you come across such nags or complaints, simply ask the person to give a solution or what he/she thinks should be done.
“Wherever there is a will, there is a way”. I think I run another successful litmus test on this saying. In the initial stages of this project I had doubts. I asked myself who would give out those 1000 books in three months. After the first set of donations came in, a fallow period followed. However I reassured myself with motivation from those who believed in the project that until we count the 1000th book, we were not stopping. We have even counted the 1,420th book now.
The potentials of social media were re-emphasized to me. This campaign was majorly run on social media with just a radio appearance. We used Facebook, twitter and whatsapp to run this whole project. Social media is a very viable tool for development. Those of us in communities that are screaming for development must only find innovative means of using these tools in bringing about development to these areas.
More importantly, this has instilled in me a spirit of volunteerism and is gradually revealing to me more of myself. I also learnt that an act of volunteerism requires great sacrifice.
I may be wrong with some of the assertions but these are what I noticed and learnt from the 1000 books project.