We often hear of social media’s negative impact. Addiction, cyberbullying, and communication breakdowns are often cited as reasons to avoid using social media. Social media, however, can be a phenomenal platform to create positive social change. Such is the case of the #LoveArmyforSomalia movement. Somalia is currently experiencing one of the worst famines of all time. The United Nations has declared that 6.2 million people are in immediate need of assistance ― nearly half of Somalia’s entire population. Realizing that the mainstream media was failing to cover the famine effectively, social media stars and celebrities banded together to raise awareness and supplies for Somalia.

Jerome Jarre, a Vine and YouTube star, released an emotional video detailing the story of a six year old girl who died of dehydration after she and her mother walked ninety miles in search of water. He wanted to send an airplane filled with sixty tons of supplies like rice, flour, and water to Somalia and found that Turkish Airlines was the only airline that traveled to the country. He then pleaded with his followers to share the video with the hashtag #TurkishAirlinesHelpSomalia in order to catch the company’s attention and garner a response from the airline. Other public figures including NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick, YouTuber Casey Neistat, and Hollywood Actor Ben Stiller also recorded and shared their own videos encouraging followers to join the movement.

Within hours, the videos had been shared over 170,000 times and the campaign had come to the attention of Turkish Airlines. Turkish Airlines announced that they would be honored to provide airplanes to transport all of the supplies the campaign could raise. Jerome Jarre immediately released another video thanking Turkish Airlines as well as every single person who shared the video. He then requested one million dollars in donations to buy supplies through a GoFundMe fund, promising full transparency and that every single cent raised would go to help the people in Somalia. In less than twenty four hours, the fund had surpassed its goal. To date, over eighty thousand people have donated over 2.4 million dollars to the cause.

In the face of such a dire situation in Somalia, it is inspiring that people with such large social media followings are taking action to mitigate this problem. This kind of social media power has been harnessed in the past: the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, Movember, and #BostonStrong have been able to raise awareness and millions of dollars to make the world a better place. However, we continue to emphasize the negative aspects of social media over the positive. In reality, social media can reach audiences far larger what has ever been possible in the past. Employing social media effectively can help foster what everyone so desperately wishes for: a better world for all of us.