Are you seeing examples of generosity on the social web?

BlogHer Original Post


Photo by Heather

Given the economic grim news lately, and the rise of people coming together to do good things on the social web, I've been thinking about generosity lately.  Why are we seeing the rise of generosity on the social web?

I think I might have found my answer in the February report form Trendwatching  called "Generation Generosity" They sum it up as:

"Giving is the new taking, and sharing is the new giving.n fact, for many, sharing a passion and receiving recognition have replaced 'taking' as the new status symbol. Businesses should follow this societal/behavioral shift, however much it may oppose their decades-old devotion to me, myself and I.”

It covers a number of drivers of this trend, but what is most interesting to me is the "individuals" angle:

However, in essence, GENERATION G isn't about anger and recessions: the larger and more lasting trend is passionate, empowered individuals (if not entire generations) being more willing and able to give, to share, to collaborate; to be more ‘generous’ in many ways. Which in turn has made generosity one of a new set of status symbols.

The most important driver behind GENERATION G is a wide variety of consumers and citizens being more generous. We're talking the collaborative / free / creation / crowdsourced / gift / sharing movement* that—especially online—has unlocked in entirely new ways the perennial need of individuals to be appreciated, to be loved, to feel part of the greater good, to contribute, to help... To basically find status and gratification in something other than consuming the most or the best.

Don't think this a passing phenomenon: younger generations practically live online, while over the last dozen or so years, virtually every prediction of how the web would infiltrate the 'offline' world has proven too conservative. As our favorite online guru, Kevin Kelly, rightly stated a few years ago: ‘online culture is the culture’.

So... Everything seems to have aligned to make generosity (“liberality in giving or willingness to give”) a leading theme in the business arena this year. As always, companies can learn from consumers, though it's not a 'want' but a 'need': companies need to mirror this societal shift if they want to regain their relevancy. We’re talking truly becoming a caring brand—one that is generous to customers, generous to employees, generous to the environment, generous to social causes, and so on. We know you know this: GENERATION G is more about context and timing than out-of-the-blue insights.

The report goes on to offer eight broad tips about how corporations can be kinder and more generous to their customers.  I haven't seen much written about this topic, although Neil Perkin wrote a piece that talks about generosity as a business driver.

What are you seeing as examples of generosity on the social web?  Do you have a story that you'd like to share?

 

Beth Kanter, BlogHer CE for Nonprofits and Social Change, writes Beth's Blog.

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