"Let your hook be always cast. In the pool where you least expect it, will be fish."
— Chinese fortune cookie
In the last couple of years, an explosion of social media has expanded business and globalization. Anyone, any business and any organization can create a page or a profile and unleash themselves into the masses. Some organizations have done very well.
Ashton Kutcher is at the top of Twitterholic.com's top 100 with 3.2 million followers, while Samantha Ronson makes the list with more than 1 million. People apparently want to know if Lindsay Lohan drunk dials.
Also making the top 100, the Green Team's Al Gore and Whole Foods Market have millions of Twitter followers. On their pages, you can find out what Gore is working on and communicate questions about Whole Foods offerings.
But in addition to blowing up a brand, capturing professional connections and publishing work, greenies can also leverage funding for environmental progress through social networking Web sites.
One Green Quick Fixes reader recently contacted me about how these tools helped her promote her cause. Carmenza Montague, originally of Colombia, nominated Marion Institute's Heart of the World project to a competition through her Facebook profile and promoted voting for the organization by reaching out to her more than 1,100 friends and all of her company's CafÃ© Yuluka organic, fair trade, shade-grown coffee contacts on Twitter.
Carmenza donates 10 percent of sales from her Fair Share, LLC-imported CafÃ© Yuluka, harvested by the indigenous communities of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, for preservation of the biological and cultural resources of her native South American land.
Heart of the World, a nongovernmental organization (NGO), recovers ancestral lands, including those in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, which have been occupied and deforested.
3rdWhaleMobile, which is donating 25 cents for each of its iPhone applications purchased to five environmental NGOs, pre-selected two and opened up nominations for 10 other organizations that would compete for the remaining three slots. The battle for votes was played out through Facebook and chatted up in other social media channels. Voters were not required to buy the application, just simply go to the applicable contest page on Facebook and type in their votes.
Carmenza said she gathered every contact in all social media channels to campaign on behalf of Marion Institute. The project was nominated at the end of June and landed the top 10, falling among the likes of 350.org, Wiser Earth and Orangutan Outreach. The Facebook contest ran between July 3 to 10. Carmenza worked day and night, but it paid off. She said 29 percent of her contacts voted and Marion Institute received the second highest number of votes.
Carmenza attributes her success to the open channels, and the ability to exercise personal passion, that social media provides.
However, it was "more than difficult, I would say it was a lot of effort. People tend to respond to direct requests much more than to posts on the news feed. I spent two entire days on the chat and without a break," she said.
But she said she is glad for her effort. "I was focused on winning for the benefit of the indigenous peoples that are so dear to me and that is all that mattered at the moment," she said. "There are folks out there trying to have a positive impact on the planet. We need them to be our allies," Carmenza added.
And it is possible to find these allies anywhere in the world through Twitter, Facebook and the Web itself. As I sip on this heady, earthy, rich cup of Carmenza's Yuluka coffee, I realize that's how she found me and tempted me into becoming a CafÃ© Yuluka Twitter follower. And now she is following me, too.
Are you a greenie? Focus on your element and launch yourself. Create a profile and follow every e-zine, organization and personality that satiates your green. Take part in the conversation. I did.
Andrea Fox, a Beverly resident, has been writing about environmental sustainability and eco-topics for nine years. She is a member of the Society of Environmental Journalists and a watershed protection advocate in Salem Sound Watershed. Visit her Web site at msgreenquickfixes.com.