The latest buzz in the app world (following the unfortunate fall of Flappy Bird) is UNICEF’s “Tap Project” which has been the featured app in several recent publications and is growing. The “Tap Project” began in 2007 as a campaign to provide clean water to people in need but has recently gone social. UNICEF’s app challenges users to get away from their phones for a cause and for every ten minutes a user doesn’t touch their phone, one day of water will be provided to someone in need.
UNICEF is far from the first organization to entice browsers with the idea of doing basic online tasks in the name of charity but this app is just the beginning of a shift to more interactive media.
Maybe college students don’t have the money or time to donate so websites, games, and apps are encouraging but they can never replace the importance of actual sacrifice. But is this manipulating the power of social media? Is the feel good feeling of avoiding your phone for a length of time or answering a series of trivia questions actually justified and empowering or is it just encouraging laziness by providing an outlet?
UNICEF is a trusted organization that has been around since the 1990s and has since provided nearly 2.1 billion people with access to clean water which leave little question of legitimacy, but it does leave room to wonder if social media is having a negative impact on charity by making it into something marketable and what might next for published media even beyond non-profits?