Project Home Again: Using social media for good

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Chloe Isbell

Information spreads rapidly across the internet and various forms of social media.

Chloe Isbell, Photo Manager

The negativity associated with social media often distorts the fact that social media platforms can be used to raise awareness about important causes

Project Home Again is just one example of the positive impact social media can have. 

In 2003, starting as a one-woman organization in Massachusetts, Project Home Again has since partnered with multiple social service agencies in order to provide domestic abuse survivors, refugees, veterans and many others with used household goods that are still in good shape. 

Social media has allowed them to rapidly spread the word about their organization, and people are now able to make online donations. 

Project Home Again is proof that when used with positive intent, social media can leave a lasting positive impact on people. A journalism student from the University of Florida discussed the science behind this. “The Ice Bucket Challenge was successful not because people shared over a million videos of it on Facebook or because it earned millions of mentions on Twitter,” he said. “It was successful because it raised over $100 million for the ALS Association. The viral nature of the campaign aside, there was more to it than just letting people tweet about it.”

After tornadoes tore through Kentucky on Dec. 10, ruining thousands of homes, TikToker Carew Ellington began a GoFundMe. His 5.5 million followers not only donated to the cause but also spread the word of the tragedy.

Ellington has now posted multiple videos showing what the GoFundMe money has bought so far, including food and blankets for those whose houses were completely torn down. The GoFundMe currently stands at $20,982, but it has continued to rise.

Occasionally, there is fake news about a cause, like the posts where every like equals one pound of trash removed from the ocean, but oftentimes, social media aids in spreading awareness about important causes.

Beyond its ability to spread information quickly, social media is accessible to a variety of people. Well-versed in the Internet world, senior Allisa Pandit spoke to the power of social media. “Throughout the past few decades, the Internet has facilitated various social movements. Whether an individual is looking to educate themselves on a certain topic, scrolling through social media will inevitably lead them to a political post,” she said. “With such technological advancements across the world, the Internet and social media allow individuals to spread important messages online.”

Project Home Again started on a bulletin board and quickly spread throughout the Internet because it had a call to action that was impactful and something their target audience could connect with. It was never about the publicity and always about the people they were trying to help. 

Even Ellington has a purpose in posting his TikToks. Showing the audience the impact they have will only encourage them to donate more in order to help those in need. In watching his videos, it becomes clear that he truly cares about what he is doing and the views and the likes are not a motivational aspect for him. 

Negative attitudes towards social media, though valid, clout the positives social media can also inhibit. Social media has the power to effectively highlight important issues that should not be underestimated.