The future is bright: Megawatts of Social Energy

20 Apr

In the previous post, I offered an explanations of why  social goods are the bottom line for the public sector.   In order to create  social goods, social energy and organizational capital are necessary.  Organizational capital is the everyday “ making the donuts stuff” – staff, funds, etc.   But social energy, well it is:

  • The mojo
  • The special sauce
  • The “secret” why did this turn out so well “ ingredient
  • It is a part of the social change formula

Social energy has been the driving force that has made possible every advance made in society

~Leaders who make a Difference by Burt Nanus and Stephen Dobbs.

As leaders, you want to see it as an avenue and a way for you to move your causes forward.

How is it made

It is created through human relationships.   We connect to each other. Then we connect to causes.  Finally, we combine our relationships with our causes to move social  change forward.  If we believe in the cause enough; we will maximize all of our relationships to make change happen.

Right  now, we are so lucky to have many ways to build  human relationships.  There are numerous  points of entry ( Facebook,Twitter, LinkedIn,  E-mail, and  IRL – in real life).  We can make friends and contacts through all of these avenues.  For many of us, we use these social media applications as a way of expanding people’s knowledge about our causes and also motivating them to join us.   They provide repeated chances to build a community.

Why should I care

Social energy measures the number of followers and level of participation of the commitment to the purpose of the organization and the leader’s vision.

~Leaders who make a Difference by Burt Nanus and Stephen Dobbs.

It is important to focus on both of these factors when thinking about social energy.  It is not just about the number of followers.  * Note to self: stop looking at number Twitter followers on a daily basis-Dangit!* It is about the level of participation.   Do  you want people to click, subscribe, send money, or volunteer?

Depending on the social energy that you are trying to harness, your efforts and your strategies need to reflect that.   If  “the click”  is that easy, what about the standing in protest or giving money.  That is the leap.

Who creates it

We all do.

Through our individual efforts at work and in our communities.  It is volunteering, organizing, serving and leading  that moves the causes we work on towards its social good.   It is the power of one, combined with the power of another individual in an orchestrated way that creates the energy surge.

What does it look like

Social energy is the energy generated  when a  non profit  or agency marshals its resources for action that  help the common good.  Examples:

What is that special sauce that you want


  • stakeholders
  • constituents
  • employees

Ultimately, we want our social energy to be spent in a way that is meaningful.  We want to use our own social energy to increase the commitment, morale and enthusiasm in others.  We want to make sure that people will be involved at all levels.

So Twitter is the first step, getting and staying on the radar is the ultimate destination.   We have more ways than ever before to get people build up their social energy, our challenge is to get them to use in the present and in the future.




One Response to “The future is bright: Megawatts of Social Energy”

  1. Heidi Massey April 20, 2010 at 2:19 am #

    Hey Ericka,
    A post about connecting…now you know how I am gonna feel about that topic!!! Love how you got down to specifics about the how and why of connecting. It can seem like a game with no real direction or motivation…but ultimately connecting leads to bigger and better things for us and for the world!

    Thanks for another (as always) great post!

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