In December 2011 Australians spent the equivalent of 48,000 years online, with a quarter of this time spent on Facebook.
Despite the huge amount of time we spend online, and with unprecedented access to information, we still head over to the same few big, corporate media suppliers for our news.
But we’re learning. Despite the personalized advertising on Facebook and the same news schlock on Ninemsn people have suggested lots of small ways to use social media and online tools to make a positive impact on the world and the people we share it with.
Just because it's hard to get the friends you see all the time to even talk about the things you’re passionate about, people do exist that don’t spend all their time gaming online or willing the Olsen twins to make their acting comeback. Have an idea? Share it and you might be surprised who is keen to get onboard.
Change.org has simple tools to start your revolution
Be an advocate for the change you want to see.
Lamington drives and bake sales no longer have the monopoly on fundraising. Movies, album recording, water sanitation projects, start up businesses, and social awareness campaigns have all gotten off the ground thanks to crowd sourced funding.
What’s really cool about this is that the things that people actually care about get funded. Check out Give Now and Pozible, two Australian sites that will help you with a step by step approach to getting your idea off the ground. It takes some work, but it may be the push that your idea needs.
Alternatively Kiva is the boss of this emerging market place for ethical funding. You can donate as little as $25 to people all around the world. So, even if you're still developing a great idea of your own, you can still throw some money behind a project that grabs your attention.
Support Independent Media
Being informed about stuff that's happening in our local commnuities as well as around the world takes, in the words of Mad-Eye Mooney, "constant vigilance."
One way you can help is by subscribing to your favourite independent news sources. This helps support the dedicated journalists who keep you informed. Subscribe and/or donate to respected news organisations, such as Investigative News Network. By donating, you are keeping investigative journalism alive. Earth-shattering investigative journalism doesn't write itself, so your donation to foundations like Human Rights Watch, ProPublica, Center for Investigative Reporting and iWatch News, keeps the ink flowing.
For a particularly Aussie angle on indy-media try the country's first non-subscription, non-advertising, online media site from some of the best journalists we've got. The Global Mail is fully philanthropically funded. Check it out.
Martin Kirk, from Oxfam Great Britain wrote that it’s ‘hard to overstate the incredible reach of commercial advertising into our lives today—we are wrapped in it from cradle to grave—and yet we have traditionally paid precious little heed to its influence when looking at how to bring about positive social change.’
We need to understand the influence that advertising has on us, on what we feel like we are allowed to do with our lives, on the kinds of jobs we should take and on the kind of lives we should be living.
Check out Adbusters, a free, non-profit, magazine raising awareness and challenging advertising's notion that buying more stuff can achieve change.
Think of me as Evil? The report on advertising and social change that Martin Kirk was commenting on above. Written by the World Wildlife Fund, it takes advertising to task and asserts that it hinders us from making real change.