The 3rd Social Good Summit Started the World’s Largest Global Conversation!

Rebecca Moore, the creator and Director of Google Earth

From September 22-24, 2012, I felt like I was living on another planet. I knew that the Social Good Summit brought the brightest and most innovative people using technology and social media for good together, so I expected it to be tech-heavy on the ground. But nothing could prepare me for walking into a building full of people determined to make this year’s Social Good Summit the largest trending tag on Twitter and who typed as if breathing. The wi-fi network’s server was completely overloaded and occasionally crashed. I could practically hear real chirping from all the collective virtual Tweeting going on.

The 3rd Annual Social Good Summit was held at the 92nd YMCA in New York City

The Social Good Summit obviously didn’t want to be a traditional conference where people speak and other people listen, and then they speak and listen to each other and then it’s all over and no one knows or talks about that conference outside of the people who attended. SGS didn’t want that sad fate to befall them (which reminds me of a snarky joke my friends make – that if it’s not on Facebook and no one knows about it, then it’s like it didn’t happen) – so it set out to create the largest virtual Global Conversation in the world. 300 cities around the world held meet ups and auxiliary Social Good Summits and we all streamed live webcasts, blogged, and tweeted furiously to each other. There were also hackathons for good simultaneously occurring – in NYC, the Social Good Summit was at the 92nd street Y in the Upper East Side, and there was a simultaneous hackathon in the Tribeca Y – developers created mobile applications for good that they then entered into a competition.

I was overwhelmed by the intense tech-fueled fervor throughout the Summit – and instantaneously infected. It’s hard not to realize that these are the people creating the future when you see such innovative ideas and programs, and to see exactly what technology can do right now, for millions of people around the world.

This is the scope of the summit’s reach:

  • Nearly 300 cities across the world gathered for meet ups (ranging in size from small groups to gatherings of hundreds) to discuss and share ways that new technology and social media can tackle problems in individual communities.
  • The Twitter hashtag #SGSGlobal trended locally, nationally, and globally during the course of the summit and has been used over 60,000 times to date.
  • The livestream of the summit was translated in real-time in seven languages including all six official UN languages, making the proceedings available to people around the world, free of charge via the internet.
  • The Social Good Summit content has been viewed in more than 150 countries sparking conversations in more than 50 different languages. (IT News Online)

I linked Mashable summaries of some of my favorite panels here:

Unleashing the Power of Open Innovation in Government  –

Can Mobile Phones Eliminate Pediatric AIDs?

How to Use Mobile Phones to Solve Global Problems 

How Social Games Can Help Change Attitudes (this is my own title for this event !)

And these are my personal lessons of what I learned from this year’s Social Good Summit.

Mobile technology is huge. 

  • 90% of the developing world is going to have access to mobile broadband, which means the possibilities for access to useful mobile applications are enormous.
  • 65% of people who have cell phones in the world are in developing countries. Cell phones = access.

Social media is particularly helping women. 

  • Women are very active social media users and are using social media to bring awareness to women’s and girls’ issues around the world.
  • A great example is the new White House challenge for developers to create a mobile app that teaches girls civic education and gets them interested in politics.

Hackathons produce results.

– Instead of only having developer hackathons, what if we also brought together policymakers, government officials, and corporate leaders to hash out program ideas in an energetic, supportive, closed space? What could we accomplish?

Ask why five times to get to the root cause. 

– I’m a big root cause analysis person. So this has nothing to do with tech for good or social innovation – I just really appreciate that someone said this.

I hope you enjoyed my recap of the Social Good Summit and please continue to read/learn about how technology is being used for collective good!

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