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Health & Wellness
Mobilizing with Moms to Use Social Media for Social Good

From Sarah Colamarino, Vice President, Corporate Communications, Johnson & Johnson

A few weeks ago, my colleagues and I invited a small group of mom bloggers to talk about how we could work together to use social media for social good.  Knowing who was going to be in the room and what was going to be discussed, I knew it was going to be a great event -- but nothing could have prepared me for what turned out to be an incredibly moving experience.

The idea for the day started with the realization that by using social networks, people can (and do) reach and interact with others to drive social change.  We've seen this in many places, from politics, where people have connected to drive political discourse, to charitable giving, where international aid agencies have used networks to raise funds for relief efforts.  This incredible group of mom bloggers brought the discussion to an entirely new level, driven by their moving personal experiences and passion for making a difference.  Their experiences touched our hearts, and their ideas opened a range of possibilities that we never thought possible.

Those familiar with our company know that Johnson & Johnson has always placed a high importance on philanthropy.  (In fact, my colleague Margaret Gurowitz has discussed the history of our philanthropic efforts several times on the Kilmer House blog). We support a wide range of partners, focusing on those that have programs that can improve people's lives in meaningful ways.  Programs like Text4Baby, which provides text services for expectant moms, or Mothers2Mothers, which provides peer-based support for HIV-infected moms in Africa are a sampling of our over 650 partners.  We recognize, though, that with additional support, and greater awareness of what these partners have to offer, there is much more that they could accomplish.  

That's where the mom bloggers came in.  After seeing what some of these moms were doing to improve people's lives by leveraging the strengths of their personal networks, we realized that they may have some great ideas to help our partners.  

So we decided to bring a small group of them together to brainstorm some ideas with us.  

Like all good meetings, we started off with introductions.  As we went around the room, each participant talked about what she was doing to advance her own personal causes.  The passion to help improve people's lives and the knowledge of how to use social networks to do that was evident in everyone who joined us that day.  What they had accomplished to date was not only astounding but deeply moving.   More than once I felt a tear welling up as I listened to these stories -- and I know I was not alone.  

What became apparent as the day progressed was that by working more closely together, we could do so much more. That together we could work with different partners, to provide support, increase awareness and encourage contributions through different online networks and communities to drive meaningful change that can improve people's lives.  We talked about how that could work, and some great ideas were shared.  

There's much work still yet to do as we assess all of the wonderful ideas that came up, but one thing is certain -- this is just the beginning of what I hope will be relationships that could have a powerful positive effect on the lives of many people.

I hope to share more about what our next steps will involve, but in the meantime I'd just like to thank all the moms who took time out of their very busy lives to join us and help us figure out how to use social media for social good.  Those moms include:

Catherine Connors from Her Bad Mother

Karen Walrond from Chookooloonks

Alice Bradley from Finslippy

Jyl Johnson Pattee from Mom it Forward

Niri Jaganath from Mommy Niri

Katie Allison Granju from Mama Pundit

Heather Spohr from The Spohrs are Multiplying

Alli Worthington from Mrs. Fussypants

Jennifer Hutcheson from Mami2Mommy

Heather Armstrong from Dooce

Ana Roca Castro from LATISM

Isabel Kallman from AlphaMom

Ellen Seidman from Love That Max

Kerri Morrone Sparling from Six Until Me

Working together, we can make a real difference for those in need.