After listening to Aaron’s success story with Gofundme, I decided to look deeper into the site and how much it relies on social media. I was unfamiliar with the site and was honestly amazed at how quickly Aaron said he was able to raise $1,800. Lets be honest, for a college student, that’s a gold mine.
I found his original post and read the comments from the donators – each strongly encouraged him to pursue his dream and were happy to contribute to the cause. Besides Aaron’s page, there were many requests for contributions to medical bills, handicap accessible vans, and to support a local special Olympics. Just after class, I received an email from my sorority’s listserv with another link to a Gofundme page (check it out here). It dawned on me how successful this site can be and how that success is owed to social media platforms that help spread it.
Whereas Aaron’s page is only a few days old and has already reached its goal, other pages are months old and have barely made a dent in their fundraising. As a student in the Journalism school, writing for the Daily Tarheel, and learning from mass communication experts, Aaron most likely had an advantage in spreading the word about his cause. Aaron said he reached his goal of $500 an hour after he originally created the page. Without the internet would any of this be possible? Not only would random strangers have no means of sending contributions but the process of spreading the word would take weeks.
While many people continue to shame our generation for its internet obsession, here is an example of it being put to good use. Gofundme.com provides a place where those in desperate need have the ability to reach a large audience in hopes of successfully reaching others willing to help. I applaud the site’s efforts and I urge the continuation of social media to be used to spread messages like these, showing the skeptics a more positive side to the “evils” of the internet.