The Significance of Social Media in the Success of Dance Marathon

Many people from my generation and beyond have turned to social media in order to accomplish many positive things. Social media has the ability of reaching people across the nation in order to collaborate when it comes to things such as philanthropic events. Throughout this essay I will describe the power of social media by identifying how social media operates to transform social relations when it comes to the philanthropic event, Dance Marathon Through research involving two articles written by Joseph Kahne and Sally Boucher, I will describe the many ways in which social media has assisted in making Dance Marathon one of the biggest philanthropic efforts in the nation.

This past February I felt honored to be invited to Florida State University’s Dance Marathon by my best friend who attends school there. Dance Marathon is a 40-hour event in which more than 1,800 participants stay awake and on their feet for a 20-hour shift in order to raise money for Children’s Miracle Network benefitting Shands Children’s Hospital in Gainesville.

The money raised goes directly towards medical care, treatment and comfort items and activities for ill children. Although Dance Marathon itself takes place during one weekend out of the year, the fundraising for this event never ends. My friend informed me that in order to be able to dance at the event, I was required to raise $300 for the cause. if I set this goal for myself in the 1970’s, I may have been quite concerned with how I was going to accomplish this feat, but with the crutch of social media at my fingertips, I knew that this goal could be reached through many techniques that I would soon employ on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, Organizations like Dance Marathon are lucky to have social media, because it is a way to connect with an extremely large amount of people.

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Along with this wide range of connection, social media offers new forms of engagement when it comes to followers, and it allows relationships to cultivate. “More than 90 percent of survey respondents use social networking sites to share information about their organizations, missions, upcoming events and activities” (Boucher).

I began my journey of collecting $300 for Children‘s Miracle Network in November of 2015, with hopes of reaching my goal by the morning of Dance Marathon, February 26, 2016. Each potential dancer, like me, had their own webpage associated with Dance Marathon that they were able to send to friends and family members for a quick and easy donation process, I started out by posting my link on Facebook and sharing the event details, hoping that my mission would inspire some of my Facebook friends. I posted my link weekly, and watched my donation gauge rise a little more each day. As the event was rapidly approaching, and I had only raised around $100, I decided I needed to kick it up a notch. “While these are important and worthwhile activities, many experts stress the importance of listening to and interacting with followers as being a key ingredient for developing relationships and turning them into beneficial connections to meet organizational objectives” (Boucher). I posted as my status on Facebook that for each $5 donation, I would post a funny, embarrassing photo of myself.

Donations soon came pouring into my account, and Facebook was graced with some lovely photos of me from my awkward middle school phase, as well as some current unflattering selfies. Without Facebook, I would have had to go door to door asking for donations, and it would have been way harder for me to reach the same amount of people that I was able to reach through Facebook, which is exactly 738 people. The link that Dance Marathon provided each of its potential dancers made it feasible to gain donations from my Facebook friends who live all over the country. Before social media, I wouldn’t have been able to instantly receive donations from my friends and family in different states, and more people are willing to donate if the process is quick and easy, rather than them having to make a trip to the post office to send an envelope with a check in it.

I strongly believe that due to social media, FSU Dance Marathon was able to raise over 6 million dollars in the past 20 years. “Social media is transforming philanthropy. And maybe philanthropy is at the heart of social media, too” (Boucher). The morning of Dance Marathon finally arrived, and I put my dancing shoes on and prepared to stand and dance for 20 hours. I had raised my $300 and received my dancing ticket, but throughout the event there were several incentives such as being able to sit for 20 minutes, or a massage, or being able to watch a movie while sitting down, if participants raised at certain amount of money while at the actttal event As the 20 hours dragged on, I was having a blast, but my legs and back began to hurt, and I decided it was time to take to social media again in order to raise more money. I posted photos of my friend and I on Instagram, along with the link to my donation page, and an explanation of the incentives I would receive if I gained donations I tweeted about it and also continued posting details along with the link on my Facebook page.

My aunt, who had already donated, donated to my account again because she saw my Facebook status and wanted me to be able to enjoy the incentives It is amazing to me how through social media, my aunt from New York was able to send her donation directly to my Dance Marathon account, in turn helping me out, and most importantly helping out the children. Throughout the event, the Miracle Network Children who were healthy enough at the time to make speeches, did, and one child named Chase, challenged each dancer to earn $20 more by using the hashtag #chaseschallenge, Every dancer immediately took to social media to tweet, Facebook, and Instagram this hashtag, and in turn we collectively raised over $40,000 within the hour. According to Joseph Kahne’s article Youth, New Media, and the Rise ofParticipatory Politics, young people today are using social media to circulate, collaborate, create, and connect. Social media gives us the opportunity to work with others from all around the world to produce and share information, and communities are being formed purely through social media.

Youth struggle in many ways with being able to have their voice heard, due to the fact that youth are not as engaged in institution, and due to the fact that they lack the skills required by numerous traditional forms of engagement, but, luckily for us, “youth are often experts and highly engaged with new media and, as we will detail, the affordances of new media enable youth to have political voice and influence without being 18, having money, or even being a citizen” (Kahne) Although I may just be a college student without much experience in the institutional world yet, I am able to have my voice heard through the use of social media, and I am also given the privilege of being able to get things done through social media. Finally, my 20-hour dance shift was coming to an end, and after the most emotional 20 hours of my life, I was ready for the total donation amount reveal.

The total of $1,435,120.32 was revealed, and the crowd went wildt I strongly believe that without access to social media, that total would have been significantly smaller, Many older generations may argue that social media is destroying our youth, but I believe that, if used in the right ways, it can become monumental for philanthropy, as it did for Dance Marathon, and for many other positive things The transmission of information and ideas, and the coming together of communities due to social media is priceless, and I believe that our generation’s future is very bright due to the positives of social media. “Thus, the opportunities afforded by participation with new media are particularly valuable for youth They may, with appropriate supports, help counter youths’ relatively low levels of engagement with many dimensions” of philanthropic life (Kahne).

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The Significance of Social Media in the Success of Dance Marathon. (2022, Oct 27). Retrieved from

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