Day 46: The power of texting. A post inspired by Ted speaker Nancy Lublin

Continuing on with my Amazing Humans series is a post about CEO of Do Something Nancy Lublin and he’d Ted talk “texting can save lives.” When Do Something changed their communication method to text messaging something extraordinary happened, teens texted back, and what they had to say changed the way the organisation operates.
texting can save lives do something

 It’s about social change

Do Something is a social change website inspiring youth to get involved in causes which they they are passionate about. The site is aimed at kids and teenagers and gives them a platform to be an activist for positive social change in their schools and community.

Most of the causes are small easily tangible things that can be done in a short amount of time. That doesn’t mean that they don’t leave a big impact.  For example, one cause currently promoted on their front page is to make a birthday card to be distributed to a child living in a homeless shelter.  It might seem irrelevant when their are much bigger causes in the world, but can you imagine being a child homeless in an unfamiliar place and someone actually remembers your birthday and gives you a handmade card?  Wouldn’t that child feel special and feel like they mattered? Big changes start with small acts.

Text messages have a 100% open rate

Nancy explains that one of the ways they provide updates to the teens involved in the campaigns is via text messaging. According to Nancy the average teenager sends almost 4000 text messages a month with a  100% open rate. She says that teens may not always reply to text messages when they receive it, but you can bet that they do read them.

When Do Something did pivot towards text messages they found an unintentional consequence – teens texted back their problems. Do Something was a social change organisation not a crisis one, but they couldn’t ignore the text messages such as  “He won’t stop raping me. He told me not to tell anyone. It’s my dad. Are you there?”  The day they got that message is the day they decided to launch a text messaging crisis hotline.

I have such admiration that  Do Something responded to an obvious need. They did not provide crisis counselling services  but they refused to look the other way.  They acknowledged the problem but also acted on it. They also adapted the way a crisis hotline service would  typically work via landlines and made it easy and familiar to teens through the use of text messaging.

Despite the fact that this week’s series is about Amazing Humans and Nancy is undoubtedly an amazing human, I included this particular Ted talk in this series as I think that all the kids that are getting active in their community and making positive social change are just amazing. They really are. As are all the team behind Do Something.

I want to do something too!

This talk has inspired me to adopt a philosophy of making social change a part of my lifestyle not a one-off event.   Even If I did one small act a week that would be 52 ways I could have made a positive difference each year.  Even once a month would be significant.  The seed has been planted. I am not entirely sure how I intend to go about this but will update on a future post.

Although US based currently there are international chapters for Do Something.  Even if you are reading this from a country that doesn’t have a Do something website based in your country that doesn’t mean you can’s visit the websites and become inspired and take action.

What do you think about social change? Have you adopted social change in your life? Please share in the comments below.

Vanessa Rose