Can social media save the world? Some nonprofits give it a try

SMU Business Communications Professor Rita Kirk talks to The Christian Science Monitor about the increasing use of social media to help people find housing, education, health, and jobs.

By Gloria Goodale
Staff Writer

As Facebook shows that 500 million people can connect through a single platform, one of the most powerful tools in human history is being tapped to – well – save the world, say a growing number of media and technology experts.

More precisely, they say, a rising number of software designers are harnessing social media’s über-connectedness for something other than a million-member chat about whether Lindsay Lohan should serve a full jail term. As local, state and federal budgets swim in red ink, some are hoping that a sophisticated “search and match” software system can help get the available housing, education, health, and job services to the people in need.

“Social networks suit the American character,” says Rita Kirk, a professor of business communication at Southern Methodist University in Dallas. “They permit us to connect with one another, provide aid, counsel, and share resources to solve problems.”

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