Silicon Beach: Social Media For Social Change Helps Local Charity

Categories: Silicon Beach
sm4sc_miami_party.jpg
Via Blanca Stella's Flickr
Great people, great intentions, great causes and a great time.
Riptide already introduced readers to Social Media for Social Change (SM4SC) when we interviewed Robert Murray (@robertmurray) earlier this month. At long last, the Camillus House fundraiser took place on Thursday, November 19 at luxe Club 50, located in the Viceroy Hotel on Brickell.

Rising high above the rest of the Miami skyline, Club 50 is only accessible by a seemingly eternal elevator ride that features some fun air pressure shifts. On the 29th floor, yours truly tweeted: "this elevator ride is so long, I think my uterus popped."

Fifty stories above the Miami river bank, Club 50 oozes the rarefied air of privilege.  But while it may look like a set from CSI: Miami, nobody was fooled by the high-falutin' decor. Regular folks were hanging out, the 30 or so SM4SC guests mingling with members of a Jewish singles mixer that was taking place simultaneously. Silver-haired ladies lined the comfy lounge seats, prompting one completely politically incorrect friend to say, "Oy gevalt, these bubbelahs are redefining Cougar."

But the extra crowd was a blessing. Many from the singles mixer contributed generously to Camillus House on the spot, without hesitation.

The event was a success, raising over $2,000 in support of the local homeless charity -- not too shabby for a first-time effort.

It wasn't so easy. A somewhat typical Miami anecdote circulated among the evening's conversation, which shed light on how social media can cut through red tape bullshit.  Apparently, SM4SC had little luck getting through to Camillus House before the event. But in an interesting coincidence on the night of the event, there just happened to be a big Latin music industry party downstairs on the 15th floor, which some guests from SM4SC briefly checked out. One of the event organizers just happened to talk to a man who just happened to be the Camillus House director, much to the organizer's surprise. Said man was completely clueless about the event going on 35 stories above him on his organization's behalf.

Obviously, someone at the charity headquarters hadn't listened to SM4SC. Tsk, tsk. Note to local non-profits: you're being foolish if you're ignoring social media enthusiasts who are willing to help you.

And in another bit of serendipity, that very same Thursday was declared Homeless Day countywide, yet SM4SC event got no mention in The Miami Herald's coverage.

Somewhere along the lines, there must've been a failure to communicate between traditional media, public relations, local government and social media channels. 

SM4SC was a good start to social media-driven charity events in Miami, but citizens needs to step up to the plate. Admission fees dropped from $35 to $10 just days before the event. But to be fair, the event didn't publicize the free drinks and food that inspire people to give up their cash for the less fortunate. Better sponsorship for social media-driven causes is needed.  As is, the $8 valet parking fee at the Viceroy could've been applied to charity had the event been held in a location with free parking or had the Viceroy donated more than just the space.

Also, the proverbial name tags that distinguish social media events from regular ones were missing.

But no matter, this event is proof that you can do good through social media, even if the rest of the world is sketchy about collaboration. Through Twitter and the grassroots power of online social networks, as well as the hard work of volunteers and generous pocketbooks of donors, over two grand was raised on behalf of the homeless. And a good time was had by all poolside under the clouds, serenaded by DJ Sandman. If the event organizers and volunteers could do this now, just think of what they could accomplish in the future -- the potential is limitless.

SM4SC was made possible by the efforts of the following great local folks: Robert Murray (@robertmurray), Alina Balean (@thealina), Jami Reyes (@jamimiami), Cristina Sotolongo (@cristnabls), Ines Hegedus-Garcia (@ines), Julia Wakefield (juliawakefield), Michelle (@michellebythec) and Blanca Stella Mejia (@miamishines).

Follow @sm4scmiami for future events.

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