“Ding!” The Power of Social Media and Behavior Change


Written by Susan Leibtag, Compass Curator

For some of us, not one hour goes by without us checking our mobile phones. (Some might respond, “Hour??? Try Minute!”)

Who’s tweeting? Who’s on Instagram? What chat did we receive?

Our phones “ding” all day, drawing our immediate attention. When was the last time we went out without our beloved smartphones glued to our hands and our heads bent in that unique angle that says, “She’s looking at her phone”?

What medium has ever drawn people’s attention so quickly and so dramatically as social media?

“Our growing love of social media is not just changing the way we communicate—it’s changing the way we do business, the way we are governed, and the way we live in society.” This statement, by the World Economic Forum, sums up the impact of social media on the lives of people around the world.

In 2010, 970 million people had access to social media. Today, that number has grown to close to four billion. Regionally speaking, growth in access to social media looks like this:

  • North America: +6.96%
  • South America: +8%
  • Europe: +4.32%
  • Africa: +13.92%
  • Asia: +16.98%
  • Australasia: +4.9%

For those of us working in social and behavior change, we are constantly looking for new ways to reach our audience, to gain and keep their attention, and to use that attention to convey what are often live-saving messages.

A recent World Bank blog states, “Leveraging social media for social and behavior change communications is a natural and needed next step for addressing large-scale challenges, including the ones presented by COVID-19. The potential of social media is clear.”

With these facts and findings in mind, the Compass is pleased to present our next Trending Topic, “Social and Behavior Change and Social Media.”

The examples listed on that page, including both tools and project examples, are shared as inspiration for SBC professionals seeking to include social media in project design and implementation.

If you have materials on this topic that you’d like to upload, please submit them, or send them to info@thecompassforsbc.org.