Social Good Summit 2015: Key Takeaways for Social Impact Communicators

by Sara Dal Lago


Photo courtesy of Mashable

This year, the Social Good Summit 2015 proved once and for all the major, far-reaching impact that innovation can have on social good. New technologies can really empower and connect people from all over the world, and the Summit gave a concrete proof of their influence. With 1.6 billion impressions on Twitter and Instagram, the official hashtags #2030Now and #SocialGood went viral, making it a truly global event.

I was honored to be sitting in the Digital Media Lounge at the Social Good Summit tweeting live on behalf of CSIC. I cannot describe the vibe and the energy that dominated that room. A bunch of bloggers, journalists and activists armed with their laptops, smartphones and tablets, typing and recording the highlights of the discussions, and sharing them with their audiences online. I have to admit – until a few years ago, I used to be skeptical about the impact of digital and social networks. Now, I disagree with those who do not see how powerful those platforms can be. Now, I sincerely believe in the power of the new technologies, especially after being exposed to the impact projects and campaigns, which would not have been possible without a digital interaction, had on so many people around the world.

Photo courtesy of Mashable

Photo courtesy of Mashable

During one of my favorite sessions, “Social Media Is the New First Responder,” Naomi Gleit, VP of Product Management for Social Good at Facebook , Matt Petronzion, Social Good Editor at Mashable, and Pranav Shetty, Health Coordinator for the International Medical Corps, examined how social media is changing the way we see the world, while being a platform to promote humanitarian aid. As stated by Naomi, “Social media makes the world more connected, and we believe that is a social good.”

After two days of engaging discussions on social impact communications practices, here are my three key takeaways:

  1. Storytelling is content in context: As affirmed by Paul Polizzotto, Founder and President of EcoMedia, telling the real stories behind true issues enables people to go from passive viewers to active contributors. In order to motivate them to contribute, you should not ask for money, but ask people if they care about issues, and show them the tangible changes their impact can make.
  2. Social media can boost activism: Studies prove that the younger generations are determined to make a social impact, and digital platforms inspire and empower them to give back. Social media also connects resources and people who need them, and enables quick implementation, as proved by the partnership between Facebook and the International Medical Corps in response to the earthquake in Nepal.
  3. Virtual reality is the new age of storytelling: Christian Stephen, Global Editor at RYOT News and former correspondent in Syria, talked about the crossing of virtual reality and journalism. Virtual reality gives a framework for people to understand. By exposing them to the disturbing visions and by taking them out of their comfort zones, this new technology will develop empathy and bring action for social causes.

If you are interested in knowing more about the Social Good Summit 2015, you can watch the 2015 sessions here.

Sara Dal Lago is Digital Trainee Account Executive at Weber Shandwick in London, working at the intersection of CSR, sustainability, and social impact. She is an alumna of Georgetown University’s master of professional studies in Public Relations and Corporate Communications. Prior to her time in  Washington D.C., she worked at a sales marketing agency in Munich, Germany. She speaks five foreign languages and is very passionate about cross-cultural and international communications practices in general. Connect with Sara on Linkedin or on Twitter @saradallago.