By Crysta Highfield
Social media, defined by its interactive nature and user-generated content, has largely been a tool and a toy for the wealthy and bored. Blogs, photo sharing sites, and online social networking sites have allowed peers (and increasingly organizations and companies) to share thoughts, messages, information, images, and videos.
Development agencies have been utilizing social media for years, using blogs, Facebook, Twitter, and other platforms to publicize their vision, purpose, and activities; spread news; build support; attract volunteers and donors; and engage with interested segments of the population. Of humanitarian agencies, UNICEF is the most ‘liked’ on Facebook (1.2 million+) and the UN Refugee Agency, UNHCR, is the most ‘followed’ on Twitter (1.2 million+) with the American Red Cross, Doctors without Borders, and the World Food Program among others also having substantial social media followings.