Tomorrow, BC Hydro will launch a new Facebook application called Green Gifts. Developed by my friend Alexandra Samuel at Social Signal, it is a "way for the entire Facebook community to spread inspiration for conservation." The gifts are accompanied by a gift-appropriate "power smart" tip. Here's the tip when you send a pair of green running shoes: "Your feet are a built-in alternative transportation solution. Treat them well and they will last longer than your most carefully-tended car. Bonus features: zero greenhouse gas emissions and a smaller bum."
Not only does it have a great message, you can win prizes for sending the Green Gift app. Prizes include, a self-sufficient, hand-cranked LED lantern, a solar-powered battery/phone charger, an electricity consumption monitor and an iPod Nano with solar charger. The downside? Only residents of British Columbia are eligible. Damn.
These socially themed Facebook applications are a great idea in my view. Motorola (full disclosure . . . an H&K client) has offered the My Vibe Facebook application for a number of months. Its goal is to get young people to speak up when they are struggling and to help eliminate the sense of isolation teens can feel when they are facing problems.
Both are simple and effective methods of engaging with people around serious social issues to drive change.