Social Media is my Gateway Drug

Over the next few weeks, we'll be posting pieces from our Founding Mission List Members. Every day, these women are using their influence to shape their communities and create positive change at home and abroad. The below post is from Chrysula Winegar. A mother gives birth on a cold mulch floor. She’s lost babies before. Maybe this one will survive, though most likely only if she does.

We know a little bit about her life because we live in a world of instant communication and intense media. We know more about how to support her, how to empower her, whilst also respecting her culture and context. We can do more to help her then we have ever been able to do before.

Two years ago I was on a stage in New York City during United Nations Week. I spoke with two incredible women at the UN Foundation Mashable 92nd Y inaugural Social Good Summit about motherhood, words, and social media. We were able to share stories about mom bloggers and the capacity they have to move others and make connections. Our words were live-streamed all over the world. Literally.

Any reservations I had about the power of mothers’ and women’s voices online were ended that day. I chugged the Kool-Aid. At the 2011 Social Good Summit, I watched three first ladies from African nations send their first tweets. The twitter stream went nuts. It goes way beyond blogging now -- it’s our Facebook pages, our Twitter feeds, and our email lists. We can help in tangible ways: awareness, advocacy, fundraising, action. Women as influencers online have a new kind of power. The Mission List asks, what will you do with it?

The tools exist to end mothers dying in childbirth. The tools exist to save babies from dying from easily preventable diseases. Now we simply have to find the will and the money. For you it might be clean water. Better air quality. Ending child hunger. Stopping domestic violence. Electing good political leaders.

Social media action doesn’t replace hands on advocacy. Petitions matter. Donations matter. But awareness is the gateway drug and social media is the perfect ignition point. You can tell her story: With your words. With your heart. Your words and your heart matter very, very much. And so do hers.

Chrysula is a mother of four, social media consultant and work life activist. She blogs at WORK. LIFE. BALANCE. and When You Wake Up A Mother as well as being a contributor for, Huffington Post and BlogHer.