Transforming the World through Social Media
By Carmel Mawle
If, like us, you wondered how Facebook’s decision to go public would affect your accounts. Now we know. It’s meant more ads, more data mining, more selling of our private information to governments and corporations, but for those of us who are trying to transform the world through small grass roots efforts, the change has shaken us to the core.
Before the summer of 2012, when Facebook went public, Writing for Peace reached up to 110,000 readers per week. Now, we reach close to 6000.
Two years ago we posted our first Young Writers Contest on Facebook, and were overjoyed to receive entries from all over the U.S. This year, we heard from young writers in 21 different countries. Will this growth continue? I don’t yet know how these new restrictions will translate to practical outreach, but I’m worried.
The bottom line is this: Facebook wants us to pay a minimum of $30 per post in order to “reach an estimated 3,600 – 6,600” people. If we want to splurge, we can choose to reach “an estimated 74,000 – 110,000 out of [our] potential audience of 140,000 people” by paying $600 per post. Facebook is charging for access to the relationships we cultivated over the course of two years through a service they presented as being without cost.
Even if we had the money, I would argue against it on principle. Not a single member of Writing for Peace is paid a dime. Despite the generous donations of friends, family, and the Colgate University Research Council, the website, awards and certificates, postage, and, yes, the full-color printed DoveTales journals are over 90% self-funded. It’s a stretch, but if we were flush, we would want those funds to go toward the young writers, scholarships, workshops, journals, and more journals.
Like delicate strands braided into an indestructible rope, we are a powerful force when united. Social media has been lauded as a tool for creative connections and revolutions. This communication tool made possible the Arab Spring and Occupy Movements, and allows the dissemination of information from outside the corporate media – a truth that has governments shaking in their jackboots. The drive to monetize our relationships is reflective of a corporate mentality directly opposed to grassroots efforts like Writing for Peace.
If you’ve read this far, you are already committed to changing the world – and probably wondering what you can do to help. Believe it or not, you can make the greatest impact not by sending money (though we wouldn’t object), but by spending a few minutes every day on behalf of those causes you are committed to. Take the time to check our Facebook page frequently. We will make it worth your while with loads of inspiration and information. Invite your friends to like our page and please subscribe to our blog. If you appreciate a post, hit the like button. Leave a comment. Share our posts on your page. And while you’re at it, mention our Young Writers Contest to your kids’ teachers and email us for free bookmarks to share. These small things make a HUGE difference in our outreach, and we are grateful to each of you who already make a consistent effort on our behalf.
This is a collaboration, and you are essential to this experiment. As the world teeters on the brink of another war, help us spread a culture of peace.
Carmel Mawle is the founder of Writing for Peace, and serves as president of the Board of Directors. Carmel is a member of the Denver Lighthouse Writers Workshop. Her work has appeared in Smokelong Quarterly, SPACES Lit Mag, Mountain Scribe Anthology, and upcoming in KNOT Magazine.
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Congratulations To Our New Young Advisers
Writing for Peace is pleased to introduce two remarkable young peace activists, the founding members of our new panel of Young Advisers. Both have shown an extraordinary commitment to peace. Check their pages and watch our blog for their inspirational posts.
Natan Blanc is an Israeli who refused to serve in the IDF (Israeli army) “because of its actions against the Palestinians living in Gaza and the West Bank.” Natan held fast to his convictions, despite being jailed ten times.
Lyla June Johnston is a Navajo poet and peace activist from Taos, New Mexico, who has found her home in the service of humanity.
Writing for Peace is accepting nominations of young activists, writers, and artists, for our new panel of Young Advisers. Please send nominations by email, along with the reasons for your nomination and contact information to email@example.com, subject heading: Young Adviser Nominations.
2014 Young Writers Contest
The Writing for Peace 2014 Young Writers Contest deadline is March 1st, 2014. Our prestigious Judges Panel includes Robin Black, fiction; Dinty W. Moore, nonfiction; and David Mason, poetry. Submission guidelines here.
Writing for Peace is accepting submissions for our 2014 Issue of DoveTales, an International Journal of the Arts. The theme of our second journal is contrast. Check out our submission guidelines here.
Support Writing for Peace
Help us reach out to schools and young writers by purchasing a copy of DoveTales, an International Journal of the Arts to gift to your local high school or junior high. Let us know you are gifting your copy, and we’ll include extra bookmarks (beautifully designed by artist-in-residence, PdLietz). Purchase our 2013 “Occupied” Issue here.
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