When I started circulating the agenda for Using Social Media for Good on Twitter I heard from Angela Daffron that she was really excited about the upcoming chat. When I inquired about her enthusiasm she told me that she has used social media to pass laws that strengthened anti-stalking laws in two states. She had me at hello and I decided immediately to involve her in the chat. Later in the week I heard from my partner in crime @GraceFullyYours about a great encounter she had with a Guatemalan who was doing fantastic work to help children in that impoverished nation. She wrote up a blog post about her encounter with Pablo and I was convinced that we also needed to tell his story as it tied in perfectly with our agenda.
Meaning of Using Social Media for Good
We started the chat by discussing what using social media for good really means. The general consensus was that it is using social media to spread a positive message, support causes, and provide inspiration. As we were talking one of the participants mentioned that she was very concerned about someone she had just met on Twitter because he made statements that sounded like he was very depressed, perhaps even suicidal. She was tweeting with him as the chat was happening and lost contact mid way through. She was very worried and asked the participants for advice on how to best handle the situation. We assured her that she was handling it well and that although he is very stressed all would most likely be ok. The good news is she informed us the next day that he was ok and he actually tweeted me thanking us for being concerned and he started following me. We will keep our eye on him and do what we can to make sure he is ok.
The next thing we talked about was how the internet can be used for good causes. Some great sites were brought up and they are listed below.
Have you ever been Stalked?
What would you do if you were stalked and do you have any first hand experience? I was surprised to hear that a few chat participants had actually been stalked and one of our guests had just filed a police report against a stalker that was harassing her as a result of her activism. One great piece of advice she gave if you feel like you are being stalked is to log everything that happens so you have proof when you present it to the police. In order for police to make an arrest they have to have evidence and a log will not only provide evidence but it may help them to organize their investigation.
Awareness is power and since the stalker is seeking power over his/her victim it is critical that you know a few things before you suspect someone of stalking. Stalking is serious and potentially very dangerous and must be handled aggressively to avoid being physically harmed or killed. An excellent resource for stalking can be found on the National Center for the Victims of Crime website (see excerpt below). This is an important issue and I strongly encourage you to take a few minutes and review the site.
How Common is Stalking?
Unlike most violent crimes, law enforcement officials do not track the incidences of stalking offenses as part of their normal crime reporting process. Since there has been virtually no empirical data available, no one knows just how common stalking cases are in the United States.
Best estimates indicate that as many as 200,000 Americans are currently being stalked; moreover, 1 in 20 women will become targets of stalking behavior at least once during their lifetimes. With the passage of the 1994 Crime Bill by the U.S. Congress, which mandated the tracking and compilation of stalking crime statistics, experts will be able to determine the prevalence of this crime for the first time.
A few additional tips
Do you know that your location can be tracked through pictures posted on the internet. Be sure to disable geotracking devices on cellphones and cameras. Think long and hard about how you use sites like Foursquare, Gowalla and other check in sites. Every time you check into a location you are making yourself a potential target for cyber stalkers.
Angela Daffron, one of our participants, has been working tirelessly to get Jodi’s Law passed and has been successful in two states. She tried to do so using traditional methods to get the law passed, however, she was not able to convince legislatures of the urgency. She took her concerns to the public via social media and was able to use pressure and a groundswell of public support to get the law passed in New Mexico and Kansas. All states have stalking laws and this one serves to strengthen the ones in place, making it easier for victims to use law enforcement to serve their needs better.
Angela was inspired to fight for Jodi’s law after Jodi, her babysitter, family friend, and talented young college student with a bright future was murdered by a stalker. She felt that Jodi’s death must make a difference as her life certainly would have, so she took action. Now Angela has found herself being pursued by a stalker who is upset over her activism. Angela had to move out of state to protect herself and her young daughter from a pathetic idiot.
We were very fortunate to be joined by another person in the Twitterverse who also has a story about how he is using social media for good, this time in Guatemala. Pablo says he is very fortunate to have completed his studies in the University and feels strongly that it is his obligation to give back to the people who are struggling in his home country. Guatemala has an extreme rate of poverty resulting in the fourth highest rate of chronic malnutrition in the world. Making things worse is an extremely violent drug and gang culture that has emerged and is impacting everyone in the country.
Pablo feels blessed that he has received an education, is running a profitable business and wants to use his business as a means to give back to the community. He told us that he donates $.80 per lb of coffee sold to fund children in poverty. In addition he works with nutrition and education programs on site which he some times funds. He is also working with a group of doctors who are coming from the US to treat malnourished children. Pablo says that when much is given, much is expected so he is just doing what he is obliged to do. He was very happy to share the video below which shows Montessori kids singing joyfully as they prepare for the recent presidential elections. Note: there was no clear winner in the race so a run-off election is scheduled in November.
What can you do to help
It would be remiss of us to have a chat about using social media for good and not provide you with a way to be a part of the solution. For Jodi’s law the most important thing you can do is make yourself aware of how to deal with a stalker and take appropriate action if a stalker sets his/her sites on you or someone you know. Please visit Jodi’s Voice website to find out more ways you can help raise awareness or support victims.
A fantastic way to help Pablo and the children of Guatemala is to visit Pablo’s website and purchase your favorite morning beverage (coffee) from him. He has many different blends available and you can get whole bean or ground. He also will work with anyone interested in a private label blend for fundraising purposes. Finally, a really easy thing you can do is share the video in the link above and do your part to help make it go viral. Get some social Karma and make a difference by using social media to do some good.
Thank you to everyone who joined #FierceChat this week and I hope you will drop by again.
#FierceChat – Every Wed 5:00 pm – 6:00 pm PT
follow me @Fierce_Chat or @Fierce_Living
Thank You @GracefullyYours for connecting us up with Pablo and KafesGuatemala
Link to history: FierceChat Sep 14