[LIFE AND TECH]<br />
Social Media for Social Change

Whether you’re trying to change the world or just trolling through it, the Internet is an almost infinite worldwide forum where you can make your voice heard. Websites like Change.org and MoveOn.org give anyone an opportunity to bring injustices to the attention of the web, and seek to affect change by engaging the online community. Now there a couple of new ways to get involved, whether you want your dollars to speak for you or you never want to leave your couch.

If you’ve always wanted to get involved in the political process but don’t think you have the stomach to run for Senate, now there’s an app for that. The Citizen Co-Sponsor Project is the brainchild of the House of Representatives Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA). You connect to the app through your Facebook account and you’re able to view every bill and resolution introduced in the House, from Democrats and Republicans.

Search pending legislation by title, bill number, or sponsor and browse different issues. Once you find something that stirs your passion, you can add your name to become a co-sponsor and keep track of the bill’s progress through the process of (hopefully) becoming a law. In a recent blog post, Cantor talked about the simple reasoning behind the app:

“Transparency, open government and engagement should be a key goal of all elected leaders in Washington, and Cosponsor.gov is one step in that direction.”

If you’d rather put your money where your mouth is, then the Buycott app might be for you. These days, there are parent companies, subsidiaries, and a whole maze of owners, co-owners, and affiliates that are associated with any one product on the market. With this app, you can scan the barcode of a particular product and instantly find out which companies are associated with it. You can also find out if any of those businesses have engaged in practices that you disagree with, like cruelty against animals. Search for any active campaigns against the company that you can get involved with, or start your own. This app if free for iPhone and Android, but has been so popular it crashed its own website last month. So if you happen to have a beef with Monsanto, you can hit them where it hurts the most – in the pocket.  

With the use of technology, social change can take on many different forms. The marches of the Sixties guided us through the civil rights struggle, and now you can make your voice heard by millions of people through sharing your protest online. With the help of the Internet, anyone can become an activist!

Follow tech-life expert Stephanie Humphrey on Twitter.