Social Media Against World Hunger: IDEA Annual Dialogue and Friendship Dinner

On Thursday, October 20, 2011, Law2sm’s founder, Deborah Gonzalez, was invited to The IDEA Society’s 7th Annual Dialogue and Friendship Dinner, held at the University of Georgia’s Georgia Center in Athens, Georgia.  The IDEA Society is a public, non-profit, non-partisan student organization at UGA that aims to mobilize the wealth of intellectual capital about issues of global community concern (http://www.theideasociety.org/)..  Their members are mostly Turkish-American graduate students and they partner with The Istanbul Center of Atlanta (http://www.istanbulcenter.org/).  This year their work focused on “World Hunger” and the dinner’s keynote speaker, John Becker, president of the Food Bank of Northeast Georgia (http://www.foodbanknega.org/), gave an inspirational call to action by asking each of the participants to answer “what is my role in ending hunger?”

Mr. Becker used a fresh and simple style to break down the gigantic problem of world hunger to a friendly dinner around the table.  Paraphrasing his words, the message was basically, “there are seven (7) billion of us on the planet, one (1) billion are hungry.  At a table of seven, six can feed the one that doesn’t have any food.”  Becker recognizes this seems too simple and there are other complexities, but he also reminds us that we should “start doing something now and something here, wherever our “here” is.”

Becker then brought up the issue that it is easy to see our ‘friends” at the table – we know them, we appreciate them, we want them to be feed and happy. It was when he said this and mentioned the word “friends” that it brought to mind some recent social media initiatives to help feed the hungry.  For social media is about making and keeping “Friends” whether they are strong or weak ties – right?   For example, Zynga games, the creators of FarmVille (http://www.farmville.com/), which boasts over 10% of Facebook account holders as players of their game, has teamed up with Pizza Hut.  Players can purchase special “fight world hunger” items in the games for $5 each – the proceeds of which go to the World Food Programme (http://www.wfp.org/). Items include a nutrition center, a food wagon with the “WHP” initials, and Merino sheep, among others.  Pizza Hut also has developed and is maintaining a website called “Share a Slice of Hope” dedicated to the World Hunger Issue (http://slicesofhope.pizzahut.com/).

Taco Bell has initiated its “Feed the Beat” world hunger relief campaign in October of 2011, (http://feedthebeat.com/uncategorized/world-hunger-relief-initiative/).  This campaign has over 100 Feed the Beat artists using their own social media channels and platforms to pass on the word about the World Food Programme and asking for donations for their fans.

Another effort can be found at http://www.imgonnabeyourfriend.org/.  Over 150 celebrities, including Lady Gaga, David Beckham, Jay-Z, The Rolling Stones, urge others to contribute to Save the Children in this time of crisis in east Africa.  The campaign is using Bob Marleys High Tide or Low Tide as its face.  Do you remember “We are the World” by Lionel Richie and Michael Jackson? (http://www.inthe80s.com/weworld.shtml)

These are just three of many, many initiatives happeing on our social media platforms.  Josette Sheeran, executive director of the United Nations World Food Programme put it elegantly as she thanked The Huffington Post (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/josette-sheeran/world-hunger_b_1018005.html) for naming her a world changer.  “Technology is the real game changer in the fight against world hunger.”  So what do you say?  Can you help?  Can you feed a friend?

Let us know of other worthwhile social media initiatives going on that you know about.

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