07/08/2013 02:54 pm ET Updated Sep 07, 2013

Making Change in a Snap: Social Action Digitized


Volunteerism is an eminent staple of American life. According to the National Philanthropic Trust, over 64.3 million adults collectively completed over 15.2 billion hours volunteering in various pursuits in 2011. With civic leaders and national figures alike exhorting Americans to donate their time to important causes, this datum is reassuring.

However, I have noticed a looming void in the world of volunteerism. While there exist many websites dedicated to raising awareness for specific causes of social benefit, it is evident that the digital world lacks what physical institutions dedicated to the public good have been boasting for years--a forum dedicated to the development and exchange of information and ideas pertaining to social action.

Moreover, take note that the statistic I espoused above exclusively considers adults. In addition to the absence of a digital forum for projects of social significance, the physical and digital world is devoid of a forum concerning projects galvanized and maintained by youth. This is a troubling reality.

Well, actually, such a statement is no longer completely credible. I should probably begin to use the preterit tense when lamenting this sad observation. This is because a brand new website, called Changesnap, has just been launched with a mission to change the world's perception of social activism.

Nearly every aspect of my generation has been digitized--from education to shopping--for many years now. As many academics have theorized, the digitization of the world has engendered effects within humanity that were once inconceivable. It is for this reason that Changesnap is such an important addition to the digital world.

Changesnap is a social network created by two high school students--Malachi Stoll and Yash Mori--through which teenagers and young adults interested in social justice can connect and share with one another. Like Facebook, users have the ability to disseminate information pertaining to their interests. However, unlike Facebook or any other website available to the world, Changesnap is dedicated exclusively to helping members of my generation develop social action projects and consequentially realize change.

I have many friends who have either participated in or started their own social action ventures. More importantly, I have watched these friends struggle with gaining traction and attracting members for their burgeoning ideas. Many of these well-intentioned social entrepreneurs have found it difficult to navigate the deluge of information found on the social media platforms that demand and hold the attention of potential supporters.

That is why I am hoping that Changesnap is able to fulfill its mission. While many websites have enabled charities and foundations to accrue vast amounts of money, Changesnap is predicated on the notion that time is often just as important as dollars to social change. I recently started an account to help share information about one of the many causes for which I am passionate--religious freedom--and found myself already engrossed in learning about the projects supported and started by other members of the site.

This is a promising sign. If Changesnap is able to do its job well, it will not only support a community of social justice-oriented youth--it will help add to its ranks as well.

Take a few seconds to divert your attention from your Twitter timeline, as I did a few weeks ago, and start an account. Before you know it, you might find that your decision has realized positive change.