On compassion and the power of social media #StandWithAleppo

By fouts | Action

Dec 07
Stand With Aleppo

Stats via Hashtracking.com

Everyone has a favorite cause, maybe it’s the sea animals, the homeless, affordable housing, food shortages, ending war, or your personal cause. We have empathy for those who suffer, yet often feel helpless and unable to enact change in the world. There are so many causes to support, so much evil in the world, how can we possibly beat it all? We can’t end all the suffering and cruelty in the world. But we CAN raise our voices and find others with empathy for the same issues.

[bctt tweet=”Through the power of social media we can turn empathy into compassionate action. #StandWithAleppo ” username=”jfouts”]

Social media is not really about marketing, it’s about social interaction. If we don’t use that opportunity to engage and raise our voices about what matters to us, then we’re not being mindful about how we use it at all are we? When a cause touches your heart it’s time for you to step up and do what you can. I have been touched by the cause #StandWithAleppo.

This is the story of a people who are being persecuted and murdered in their homes by the government that is supposed to be protecting them. The Assad Regime, along with the Russians are massacring the citizens of Aleppo at a staggering rate.

In October, Becky Carroll, a strategic affairs consultant, and Wendy Widom, social media manager at CBS-2 Chicago, launched #StandWithAleppo to raise awareness about the humanitarian crisis in Aleppo.

The two set up a Facebook group, a Twitter account and the hashtag #StandWithAleppo. Slowly a small group started to share the news. A core team of us who are passionate about this cause developed to spearhead the mission of raising awareness around the world and it took off.

Wendy and Becky were in touch Dr. Omar, and Dr. Sahloul, whom they’d met through a CBS Chicago show on Chicago doctors delivering medical equipment to Aleppo in August. They stayed in touch with both doctors, working in horrendous conditions, to the point of performing brain surgery on a rubble-strewn hospital floor. We learned of the hospitals being targeted by Russian and Syrian forces and schools decimated with chlorine barrel bombs.

As the hashtag grew in popularity and the message reached more people, new voices came forward from around the world. We fell in love with Bana Alabed, a 7 year old girl from Aleppo who, with her mother, tweets about their life, even after they were bombed out of their home not once, but twice. Rallies and vigils are being held in Denmark, Germany, France, Britain, Turkey, and the US to mention just a few.

There is much, much more to share about Aleppo and the massacre of her civilians, like this CNN post, but this is not only about this particular cause, it’s about the power of 2 voices, amplified through social media and how that can shake the world. I am now just one of thousands of people who also stepped up and represented for Aleppo and shout for humanitarian aid. As weekly organized Twitter events have been held and news spread to celebrities and news agencies alike began using the hashtag, we have now reached over 1 Billion timelines on Twitter alone. Just shy of 500,000 Tweets have been sent by 45,000 people.

Rallies are being held around the world, and just today, even Russia has used the tag #StandWithAleppo on Twitter to enter the discussion.

Where will it lead?
We cannot know. But we have heard back from the citizens of Aleppo that they know we are here, fighting for a cease-fire and humanitarian aid. The world is waking to the idea that everyone has a voice, and they are using it to push for change. It’s pretty damn amazing if you ask me.

But Twitter is useless!
I hear people say all the time that they just don’t get Twitter. It’s not the easiest network to understand, and there can be a lot of noise and ridiculousness there, as on any social network. But these numbers and the effects of this campaign don’t lie. The stats in the graphic above are just from the last month of this campaign. Imagine what you could do with the power of a crowd of like minds and a real passion for your cause on Twitter. learn from the example set here and turn the empathy your network has into compassionate action.

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