Social Media for the Center for Peace and Commerce and EcoATM

Posted on February 15, 2013


So here is a totally unveiled and hardly subtle attempt at self-promotion; but in my defense  it is for a good cause (i.e. to get me a job with two organizations that excite me).

Normally my blog posts are utter nonsense, except that one last year about the need to act on Libya. That one got me a couple of twitter followers among Libyan revolutionaries and also the whole thing ended in a pretty ugly and uncivilized way. So no more, I thought. Back to verbal nonsense that you can read when you want a way to waste some time.

But on this note I am going to say a few words why I think I am a good candidate to intern with the University of San Diego affiliated Center for Peace and Commerce (CPC) as well as for the exciting start up EcoATM, as their Social Media guy. The following is the most informal cover letter you will read.

I am a firm believer in the power of Social Media, and more importantly the power of connection and its ability to change the world. When it was in its heyday (just before the rocket fuelled world wide release of Facebook) I was a member of Orkut. I was one of the first 100 million users on Facebook when I signed up while it was still relatively unknown in New Zealand. In mid-2007, myself and three friends won a student sustainability challenge.

Our winning Idea was to create a Facebook based game app, where the players would control the day to day decisions of their Facebook avatar which involved choosing between sustainable and unsustainable lifestyle options, just as we are faced in real life. We believed that this cause and effect experience will affect real life behaviors. This app would be in a similar vein to Farmville and Sims Social, but before their time when Scrabulous and Super Pokes ruled in Facebook-sphere. I would like to note here that I do miss the incredibly naughty poke types available in Super Poke, but this is beside the point.

Imagine, if facebookers day and night spent their planned (or unplanned) procrastinations each trying to be more sustainable that the next. Beyond this, the key to making a lasting impact is to understand how the four corners of the social media world – Social Networking (Facebook, LinkedIn), Twitter, YouTube, and blogging- complement each other. If one’s interactions with these four corners are not linked and presented in a controlled fashion however, confusion and damage can also result.

I believe that this understanding is essential in order to maximize the positive gains for an organization in the social media sphere. Twitter is perfect for short sweet messages with impact which grab attention, and YouTube and blogs are great accessible sources of detailed information. Facebook meanwhile is the best online brand management tool available, allowing you to package your tweets, YouTube videos, blog posts and those of others that you wish to share and publish them to a wider audience to build your online brand. This is why I am active in all these ‘corners’ to present my identity as a salsa dancing engineer, with a passion social change and the environment.

So why do I want to intern for the CPC and EcoATM, and what can I do to help them develop their social media brand? The Center for Peace and Commerce’s mission is to prepare the next generation of change makers, i.e. educating the leaders of tomorrow to be cognizant of the problems that we as a world face, helping them build the skills needed to tackle them and motivating those leaders to act and impart positive change. This work requires an efficient youth outreach strategy that goes beyond the University of San Diego premises. Social media will have an immense role here, in connecting future leaders with the CPC and each other enabling them to be inspired by others a thousand miles away.

A well-coordinated campaign utilizing different social media platforms (as mentioned above) can help reach and create excitement among potential leaders via Facebook and twitter. Blogs and YouTube clips work to educate and keep people up to date about events and other relevant news which is also shared on Facebook or discussed on LinkedIn. YouTube also has the gift of grass roots inspiration, where ‘normal’ individuals doing amazing work upload their home made videos for the world to see. This rawness works wonders in generating excitement (going viral) and motivating others to act.

For EcoATM, there is a need to communicate and sell the very unique and whacky idea of self-service Kiosks that evaluate and give out cash for used mobile phones and MP3 players. The simple point is that it’s new, unique, and most people would not be able to imagine how this is technically possible. Thus communication is not only about updating the market on where the latest kiosk is being set up, or spreading the word about promotions and the latest on what one can dispose of. It is also about building the trust in people that this technology works and that one will get a good value for their phone, based on its actual merits. The target audience here is the upwardly mobile 20-50 age range who not only uses the latest phone now, but who will go through several phones so that they always have the latest available. There is no better way to reach them than social media.

Here I envision that twitter and Facebook will play the major role in promotions (mainly Facebook) and spot updates such as the latest Kiosk location and company news (mainly twitter). Facebook also provides an interactive space for users to share their experience and for EcoATM to have conversations with users, similar to firms such as Red Bull. YouTube and blogs will be ideal to share the technical aspect of the business, and educate the customer to win their trust. Facebook/Twitter would then be used to share these resources with the world so that they are seen.

The key, as always is to identify what role each medium can optimally play in the final packaged communication, and ensure their interactions are controlled and every medium presents a cohesive message. I believe I got what it takes to do this. This is because I have worked in a non-profit organization, and been a founding member several social organizations and initiatives that depended heavily on social media (because we had to reach university students, communities and others who were outside our immediate networks). So, I know what works and what doesn’t  the challenges we will face and how to meet them. Don’t believe me? Check out my LinkedIn:


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