Can social media work toward social change?
On April 22, 2010, Fusion South and its founder Bobby DeMuro tweeted a random idea: a challenge for followers to give up carbonated beverages for one month. NoFizzCLT was born. Several hundred people (including me) took the challenge and tried to stay away from soda with varied success.
At the beginning of the month DeMuro wrote that he would use his Twitter page as a distribution engine for facts about the ills of high fructose corn syrup. But something more interesting happened. His Twitter page and the hashtag #NoFizzCLT became a support arena for those taking the challenge. Many of his tweets became words of encouragement or affirmation for those in dire need of a carbonated beverage. And NoFizzCLT took on a life of its own.
NoFizzCLT now boasts its own Facebook and Twitter pages, and plans for a non-profit group to continue outreach are in the works. Over the course of the month, several devotees blogged about their experiences and their healthier living. In a twist of coincidence, just as the month-long challenge wrapped up, the Associated Press’ Jessica Gresko reported that taxes on sweet drinks may be an upcoming proposition that could fund health programs combating obesity.
After my month of avoiding high fructose corn syrup, I’m faring well. I jumped on the NoFizzCLT challenge because I had been looking for a reason to stop drinking soft drinks, and I found this use of social media to be compelling.
Finding a way to change one person at a time is a noble goal, and Twitter may offer us a way to challenge each other to change together. NoFizzCLT is yet another lesson that social media, like every other medium, is ultimately about the message.