“Snookied” at the Social Good Summit

“Snookied” at the Social Good Summit

The big takeaway for me at the Mashable Social Good Summit at the 92nd St Y in NYC this week had less to do with the power of social media or technology to solve the world’s problems and more to do with a the reality of a human moment.  When MTV CEO Judy McGrath was challenged by Elisabeth Gore (Executive Director of Global Programs at the United Nations Foundation) to tell the world something it didn’t know, she didn’t talk about Rock the Vote or MTV programming or technology.  Instead, her answer was two unexpected words, “Snooki volunteers.”

Forget about all the amazing grassroots campaigns waged with Twitter or based on Foursquare or Facebook.  Forget about networking and the power of technology to extend the reach of marketing campaigns to bring like-minded people together.  Here was the CEO of one of the most powerful media companies and brands in the world saying that her most raw and notorious reality television star … volunteers.  A woman famous for tanning, for bad taste, for barroom brawling cares about wildlife and devotes time to this cause she cares about.

Even after all the presentations and success stories from social media experts about how to accomplish things – and there really were some incredible ideas — it was the comment about Snooki that rocked the house.  We were simply arrested by the realization that even the most unsuspecting people are out there doing good things, and it’s the collection of individuals that create social movements big and strong enough to impact the biggest problems our world faces.  It was a reminder that social media in all its flavors is a really a tool — a technology based community organizer – that can bring together all kinds of personalities, ethnicities and backgrounds (even that notorious Jersey Shore crowd!) to push for social good.

So hats off to Snooki.  She may be all over Letterman, Perez Hilton and TMZ–  but she is also out there giving time for animals.

And as you prepare your next pitch, social media or cause strategy, think of Snooki.  Think of throwing your net to include every possible person it can reach – even those you’d never guess.  Think big.  Yes, think of utilizing every possible piece of technology available to you, but remember that it is not about the technology or the many amazing ways you can now reach people.  It is about the actual people you are reaching.  People like Snooki are waiting and want to be involved.


by V.S. Harriman, Senior Writer & Editor, Good Company