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How to use your influence for social change

A songwriter's music was heard by more people in one day than in 7 years of touring and recording combined. What happened?

The young singer had posted a cover of a Lady Gaga song on YouTube, which Lady Gaga herself retweeted to her 11 million followers. That singer accustomed to empty bars found herself on the right side of a powerful force. It didn't end in a flourishing career as a singer, but that singer now advocates the power of social media as the director of Georgetown University's Center for Social Impact Communication.

Julie Dixon, shares this anecdote in her TEDx speech to show how social media can impact someone's life. In today's world, social media is a valuable tool that can help us make a real difference. Too often, people feel overwhelmed by the sheer volume of messages and emails about causes. Many believe that supporting global causes online doesn't make a difference.

However, the truth is that influence is just as valuable as money when it comes to supporting causes. Everyday people have the power to use their social currency to make a real impact.

She further highlights how a user on Weibo (Chinese microblogging website) helped 26 million rural Chinese children receive school lunches through a grassroots campaign. Then a writer who used Twitter to ask for a kidney, and 19 people responded by getting tested, with one being a perfect match. These are just a few examples of how everyday people have the power to use their social currency to make a real difference.

Watch this TEDx talk to hear more such stories from her research on the power of influence.