Tuesday, February 22, 2011

#GreenSM - Find Your Footprint Finalists - Social Media World Take Note!

The National Geographic is holding a contest for 4th and 5th graders to create programs and awareness campaigns that raise awareness of the human footprint on this planet and hopefully increase participation in programs that reduce waste, conserve energy, and protect our environments.

Find Your Footprint
Let's Get On the Same Electronic Page

The contest is called Find Your Footprint. Already there are six finalists. Please take a moment to view these videos and cast your vote. Forward the link on to your friends and ask them to vote and forward as well. Voting ends March 16th.

All the entries are meritorious. Many shared themes and every one includes simple action plans.  As an user in the on-line world, promoter of all things Social Media, I cast my vote for the "Canceling Catalogs"  action plan. I am looking at this from a Green Business perspective.

The business use of paper and water, I am sure is wanton. Being competitive in business means sometimes pulling out all the stops, and "buying eyes" for your product. This includes blanket advertisements, such as a catalog promotions, that force product lines into the market. This practice must come to an end for it is not sustainable and produces too much waste of natural resource and causes too much harm to the environment. And there is now plenty of alternative tools and methods for accomplishing the same goal.

The Buzz That Shouldn't Go Away
Consider Yourself Green with SM Activity

We toss around the buzz words Social Media and Web 2.0 often enough to get tired of them. Just like the words, the tools lose efficacy if we do not use them wisely. There is hardly now any reason to go fishing for business using archaic advertising solutions, such as mass-market circular. We have better technology and have a better sense of how to use these tools to accomplish our goals. We are already in the practice of evangelizing Social Media for the business world, teaching business owners how to more effectively communicate with their markets. We should not be shy to add conscience to our discussions.

Give and Take
Propose Alternative Solutions

To be constructive about this, I offer one alternative solution to paper-based discount and catalog advertisement. Catalog offerings and coupon discounts can easily be offered in electronic format. Discount codes can be used in lieu of coupons. One Customer can visit a website and "add coupons" to their cart just as easily as they now do when engaging in e-Commerce. And their coupon-cart can generate the code they bring to the store to get their discount. And even if paper-based coupons are still employed, they can be printed up by the individual who actually plans on using them at home. Not handed out en mass, which is extraordinarily wasteful.

Old School Needs a Kick in the Pants

Don't let the Ploys be Etched in Stone

And keep in mind this: coupons themselves are just an advertising ploy. A buzz generator.  Okay, so we let business have their trick. Fine. But why should we tolerate all of the harmful environmental side-effects of this business practice? Why should we not shun these practices and look down upon companies who embrace them? We are more educated than that, aren't we?  We are the revolution, aren't we?

We, Social Media folks, who daily advocate methods for achieving business clout that center on community, relationship and relevance and shun wanton blanket clouds of data assault--this is our fight. We are the folks we say we are, right? The tools we use and the practices we advocate are indeed virtuous, yes? So maybe we can prove it on another level that contributes to waste reduction and energy conservation at the same time.

Cancel the Catalog
Take Part in a Green Initiative

Catalogs should be online. Paper-based subscriptions should be canceled. This campaign has merit and relevance enough for any of you to start sending this specific signal out to your network. Join the Cancel the Catalog campaign---for the Kids. But consider also taking it to the next levels. If you are an influencer in your company, and you've already been advocating a community approach to Branding and Lead Generation, don't be afraid to connect the dots about the merits of reducing paper-based advertising solutions.

Account for the Cost
Treating Archaic Business Practice

Since to date, business hardly ever truly gets it on their own--consider the merits of talking to officials on local, state and federal levels. The wanton business use of paper must be curbed and accounted for. Until harmful practices are reduced, clean-up cost remain high. The need to develop, advocate, and implement Green Initiatives is also present. We all a share of the responsibility for this. Buts its probably true that John Q. Smith on his own does not send out 100,000 or more catalogs into a marketplace expecting less than 10% will actually reference them.

Therefore, if this practice is to be allowed, with its negative effects remaining for us all to deal with, the prime users of this practice should pay a little extra for its ridiculousness. In addition to the cost of designing, printing, and delivering paper-circulum, there should be an additional fee. A permit to use paper for this sort of business advertising. A permit yearly applied for and with fines in with fines in place for business caught advertising this way without such permit. All revenues derived from these permit fees and fines then contribute to funds that promote Green Initiatives, including environmental clean-up, waste reduction, energy and water conservation. Whether this is a local, state or federal concern--it is a people concerned about business concern. And it should be addressed immediately.

Find Your Footprint Finalists Summary

"Canceling Catalogs: A Documentary" - Theme: Waste Reduction/Recycling/Unnecesary Paper Consumption. A campaign to cancel as unwanted sales catalogs to reduce waste, save trees, water, energy, and our climate.

"Saving Water 101" - Theme: Waste Reduction/Potable Water Conservation. Promoting awareness of potable water as a limited resource, the importance of conversation, and the simple act of turning off faucets.

"Plastic Waste Reduction to Save Our Oceans" - Theme: Reduce Plastic Waste/Use Plastic Alternatives. A study of plastic waste in our oceans, the environmental impact, and a promotion to demand for bio-degradable plastic.

"Helping the World and Saving Our Future" - Theme: Waste Reduction/"It's My Job." A grassroots effort to promote awareness and importance of daily recyling/reduction practice along with an "It's My Job" attitude.

"Let's Be Green When We Clean" - Theme: Water Conservation/Waste Reduction. Promotes Green thinking in simple every day often-repeated tasks, using cleaning down a table as just one example.

"Waste-Free Fridays" - Theme: Waste Reduction. A waste-reduction campaign that uses tupper-ware, water bottles and compost on Fridays.

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