Social entrepreneurship has a home on many websites on the web, so why are entrepreneurs still sleeping outside? If we really believe they have a role to play in changing development and reforming how we conceptualize philanthropy, then we have to respond to the dangers of being internet homeless.
Can you spare some change?
I mean it’s cold out and I can’t even buy a retweet.
Do you know what it’s like trying to keep these ideas for change warm while you walk by overlooking me?!
Enough is enough.
LISTEN UP! Hands off the keyboard and where I can see them.
You MUST create a place where our community can thrive.
Don’t allow change to be held hostage. Here are my demands:
- Balance Content with Community – If we really wanted to encourage good, we would not only equip people with great content, but balance it with peer to peer interaction. Writing a blog and inviting users to comment does not constitute a discussion. We need more dynamic content shaped with and for the participants. This means creating places where people can meet, collaborate and complain. Instead, the over emphasis on content leaves us buried in reading and hurting for connections with fellow change makers.
- Let Me Plug & Play – We’re social entrepreneurs. Why isn’t it easier to plug into your site and promote what I’m already doing offline? There should be a framework we can use to celebrate our ideas, discuss our cause, and utilize tools to better our enterprises. Furthermore, sites should be more social media friendly. We have blogs, the obligatory facebook, twitter, flickr, youtube, and endless other accounts we can’t remember we signed up for. Remember entrepreneur is also slang for over-worked. Updating all of that, enacting a business plan that saves the world, and transferring our content to your site isn’t realistic.
- Be Less Trendy & More Practical – Everything trendy is not helpful. I’m all for promoting social entrepreneurship, but we have to evaluate and balance the content we’re publishing. Why is there so little content that gets us from point A to B? We can’t overlook the process. I’m sure I’d get internet famous if only wrote blogs with titles like, “Top 10 Books on Social Entrepreneurship” or “Top Reasons To Spend Your Startup Budget on a Flight to Our Conference.” Sure the site gets traffic, but I’m not any closer to finding funding for my project or bringing my design to the market. Nope. How can I progress when most of my resources are telling me, “What you’re doing is cute, but read the required reading and pay to come to our conference—THEN you can be one of us.” As strongly as we promote the field, we should be making sure we’re ready to nurture newcomers by helping them understand the process required to make their social venture successful and ushering them into the community mentioned above.
- Keep It Real–Real Inclusive – People who are successful already are NOT the only ones who deserve your attention. Focusing only on success stories neglects that we’re a motley crew of everything from PhDs to wikipedia degrees and doesn’t necessarily reflect all the realities of entrepreneurship. Sometimes being an entrepreneur sucks. Who can you expect to help when you can only grasp the puffs of lint in your pocket and the smell of ramen makes you nauseated? We should be honest about struggles and failures as much as we flaunt the triumphs. When you make a place for people to be honest about their experience, your online community will thrive.
Spare change. Don’t let “friendly little startups” like mine, turn into “friendly little stickups.” Help us change the world and I promise nobody will get hurt.