Real Leaders

Connect for Good: Social Networking with a Purpose

For the past ten years and more, in Yaoundé, Georges Bwelle, a surgeon, has been dedicating all his free time to bring medical care to the people of the underserved remote areas and villages of Cameroon, bringing smiles to the faces of the distressed and sharing hope with those who had reason to believe they had none left.

In Afghanistan, in Brazil and in India, the Swiss-based Womanity Foundation develops schools to advance girls’ education and boost female careers through fellowship programs, and thus help give women a stronger voice in their country and region.

And in New York, Stephen Ritz of Green Bronx Machine, carried by a huge young student’s dedication, is reclaiming vacant lots in the city and turning them into an oasis of urban farming.

What is it that is so special about those people and organizations? It is that they are not alone and forsaken. They can count on help from thousands and sometimes much more people around the world that, on the Internet form a community of global citizens that chooses to support them both online and offline, and help them uphold their effort and achieve their goals.

Over 3 billion people from all corners of the globe use the Internet, and we’re still counting. Limitless content, dissolved boundaries, one time zone and space for all are typical of this new era of interconnectedness that takes shape in social networking, the most shared Internet activity, all generations considered.

Conventional wisdom, however, is that social networking is mostly self-centered and shows little concern about “someone that’s not me”. And that the word “sharing” only means “here’s what I am at” rather than “let’s share experience, understand the world, and see how we can act together and help make it a better place”.

Yet we have reason to believe that conventional wisdom is only about perception, not reality. For there is a new online philosophy, particularly among the younger generation of global citizens; it is based on the premise that humanity is in a critical need for positivity, knowledge sharing, creativity and solidarity.

That’s what Bwelle, Womanity and Green Bronx Machine, and thousands of NGOs and philanthropists worlwide, have come to realize and are banking on.

This philosophy calls for an Internet with a purpose and promotes using this unparalleled technology to connect for good and make difference in advancing social good causes. It is a new form of social networking whereby the youth are turning online ideas into concrete actions to further social progress and social good. Of course, this evolution of the actively involved youth does not end here. It is embracing all generations and spreads in every direction.  

From theory to practice: this is a philosophy of action. This is a really proactive concept that tells us that in many corners of the world, behind the theory, there is social good in the making. Some of these projects can be seen on the Horyou platform, a social network that promotes many wonderful people who are acting behind the scenes; the so-called “anonymous heroes” who, in all areas, try to help improve living conditions and address, in their very own personal way, today’s world challenges.

The philosophy of online social good is about embracing the challenges with positivity to share ideas, experience and strategies, and propose concrete solutions wherever they are needed. In doing so, the Internet highlights the best and the brightest of humanity and, regardless of the challenges that we face, this is a pathway to truly make a difference.

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