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Driving Viral Social Change: How Will You Get People Talking?

Driving Viral Social Change: How Will You Get People Talking?

Have you ever wished that more people were talking about solutions to pressing social problems? Have you ever imagined a world where people were buzzing about the latest initiative designed to curb child marriage in eastern Africa, instead of going ga-ga over the Royal Wedding? Or cheering the potential of disruptive innovations to create tomorrow’s job markets, instead of jeering Rebecca Black’s budding ‘music career’?

I’ll assume that you answered “yes,” even if you wouldn’t dare do away with your Internet memes and viral videos.

But why isn’t that dream a reality? Why aren’t these world-changing ideas spreading as quickly or as often as we would like them to? Why do Auto-Tuned press conferences and dancing Vikings get millions of views per day, while videos inviting you to make a difference rarely sniff five figures? What is holding the exchange of social good ideas back?

Sure, they’re not often humorous, nor paired with a catchy song and video, but there is no denying their marketability or their impact. Social media tools like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube have made it easier to share ideas ideas and meet impressive innovators, but the true reach of social change conversations only extends so far—it’s easy to miss something you’re not looking for.

Maybe we should take a lesson from TED, your favorite nonprofit devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading. TEDTaxi is a simple idea-spreading device dreamed up at TEDxBuenos Aires. They invited half a hundred taxistas to the conference, warmed the audience with inspiration, and then challenged them to share those extraordinary ideas with ordinary people.

How did they do it? They just asked the taxi drivers to do what they do best: talk!

TEDTaxi is simple, but brilliant—and sometimes the most simple ideas are also the most powerful. TED found a fun, informal, and popular way to close the gap between the could-be social change enthusiast and the development professional or entrepreneur.

It’s time to lighten things up a bit. I challenge you to drive viral social change. Who are your taxistas? Who are the talkers in your organization or community? Get those people excited, get them involved! Have fun with it, get silly, and get real about spreading the good word.

This article originally appeared on and is republished here with permission.


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Photo credit: via Flickr by TEDxBuenosAires
by John Converse Townsend, Ashoka's Changemakers

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5:24PM PDT on Jul 26, 2011

Thank you for sharing, now I'm going to go brain storm on a possible campaign I could start to go viral :)

1:31AM PDT on May 17, 2011


12:08AM PDT on May 16, 2011


2:24PM PDT on May 13, 2011


7:40AM PDT on May 12, 2011

A great idea

2:07PM PDT on May 9, 2011

thank you

8:54AM PDT on May 9, 2011

thank you

8:53AM PDT on May 9, 2011

thank you

5:57PM PDT on May 8, 2011

the taxi idea was agreat way tospread the word, there are also alot of other ways people can spread the word also...

11:16AM PDT on May 8, 2011

Interesting article, Thanks for sharing..

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