We have become a society that feeds on social media. When used properly social media does a very good job of doing what it's supposed to, providing the mechanism for us to be socially aware. The Marketplace, like many other organizations, rely on various social media outlets as part of their mission.
Social awareness is what you know, social responsibility is what you do. I fear that we're becoming more socially aware and less socially responsible. Have we been lulled into believing that we're socially responsible when we share a facebook post or when we sign an online petition? Don't get me wrong, these things do have impact, but is that being socially responsible or merely taking action?
Social responsibility is defined as an ethical ideology or theory that an entity, be it an organization or individual, has an obligation to act to benefit society at large. Social responsibility is a duty every individual or organization has to perform so as to maintain a balance between the economy and the ecosystem. This responsibility can be passive, by avoiding engaging in socially harmful acts, or active, by performing activities that directly advance social goals.
There are various aspects to social responsibility:
The Workshop for Civic Initiatives Foundation (WCIF), Bulgaria, describes Individual Social Responsibility in its position statement on Social Responsibility as:
"The individual social responsibility includes the engagement of each person towards the community where he lives, which can be expressed as an interest towards what’s happening in the community, as well as in the active participation in the solving of some of the local problems. Under community we understand the village, the small town or the residential complex in the big city, where lives every one of us. Each community lives its own life that undergoes a process of development all the time. And everyone of us could take part in that development in different ways, for example by taking part in cleaning of the street on which he lives, by taking part in organization of an event, connected with the history of the town or the village or by rendering social services to children without parents or elderly people. The individual social responsibility also could be expressed in making donations for significant for the society causes – social, cultural or ecological. There are many ways of donating, as for example donating of goods or donating money through a bank account or online".
I challenge you to make 2013 the "year of social responsibility". Let's not wait for the "next guy" to do something. If each of us does a small part we can accomplish great things.
Ernest R. Heyward is the Founder and President of the Marketplace for Social Awareness and Social Responsibility Inc.