My hot chocolate is saving the rainforest!
A few weeks ago, there was a mix up at my doctor's office and turned out my appointment was an hour after I had turned up. So I decided to pass the time at a nearby Starbucks.
As I stood in line waiting to order my hot chocolate, I was, as most people anywhere near my age do, checking my Facebook account from my phone. Facebook has recently added the "places" functionality (in addition to the millions of other changes it has gone through in the last year), and I thought I'd try it out.
I was about to "check-in" when I noticed that there was an "offer" associated with this check-in. If I checked-in at that specific Starbucks, $1 would be donated to help protect the rainforests. Now, I am sure that Starbucks did not know about my obsession with saving the planet, but boy oh boy was I excited! My doing something so mundane--buying a hot chocolate--something I was planning on doing ANYWAY, was also resulting in something good! Granted, $1 isn't going to save the forests, but, what if everyone who was there did the same thing? Just imagine the acres and acres that could be protected! My mind was spinning with excitement.
Of course, I "shared" my check in with my Facebook community: maybe my friends who were visiting other Starbucks would see the deal and check-in too.
A few weeks later, I found myself at REI with a friend who was looking for a new winter coat. "Hmm," I thought to myself, "REI is a company known for its 'do-gooding', I wonder if they have a deal similar to Starbucks?" Well, lo and behold, (and maybe because it was Black Friday), REI did have a deal going: by checking-in, $10 was donated for clean up of waterways.
The moral of the story: prior to the historic hot chocolate day, I had reservations about using geolocation services that are increasingly ubiquitous on social platforms. Concerns over privacy, people knowing where I was, safety, all seemed not worth it.
But now, checking-in almost seems like a part of my civic duty. If I am going to be somewhere or doing something and by checking-in I have the opportunity to do something good, how can I not do it?
I am going to start keeping an eye on businesses and brands that have do-gooding offers. I am going to keep an eye out for announcements from my favorite charities to see whether they might be the beneficieries of any such offers. Because, who knows, one day, my addiction to hot chocolate COULD save the rainforest! (Hint: is YOUR organization taking advantage of the hot chocolate-drinking masses?)
Strategy Director (follow Miriam on Twitter, @MiriamKagan)