Social media can be compared to a toolbox with multiple tools, each of which has different primary purposes. Like all tools, social media can be used for constructive purposes, but also as weapons or even as addictive drugs.

While many access social media platforms for personal pleasure, or just to connect with friends, more people are discovering a myriad of ways that this game-changing innovation can be used to make the world a better place. One of the key benefits of social media is that users can totally bypass central planning bureaucracies and leap directly from ideas to solutions.

The rise of social media has already dramatically redrawn the playing field for businesses and nonprofits, as well as job seekers and would-be donors to social causes. Today, 80 to 90 percent of millennials and Generation Z only want to work or invest in companies committed to societal impacts that align with their own values.

In recent years, multiple ventures have emerged that use technology not only to be profitable, but also to create a better future.  According to a survey conducted by the nongovernmental organization Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN), social impact platforms are the fastest growing social business category in recent years. GIIN reports that the global impact investing market, still in its infancy, has already reached $715 billion.

One such venture is ImpactWayv, the brainchild of a group of thought leaders and doers from across the business, nonprofit, and technology sectors. Their goal was to create a platform that brings businesses, nonprofits, and individuals together to promote, learn about, and potentially collaborate in social activism, discussions, and initiatives that will bring about positive change.

ImpactWayv CEO and Co-Founder Dan Rubino recognized that the main social networks, “even with enormous potential in the area,” did not have generating social good as their primary goal. The ImpactWayv app was born from the team’s recognition that a social media platform could connect the world’s 200 million businesses and 10 million nonprofits with people in ways that would facilitate achievement of “doing good” goals.

In addition to being an interactive social media venue, the ImpactWayv platform, available today as an iPhone app, provides a forum for businesses to highlight their social good efforts and activities, and for nonprofits to showcase their missions and to attract supporters. Individual scan use this information to make informed decisions about social giving and socially beneficial projects, as well as the companies with which they will do business, based on their social good activities. The company intends to launch an Android version of the app, as well as a web version, in the near future.

President and Co-Founder George Dolatly explains that, to make maneuvering through the app user-friendly, ImpactWayv created “Wayvs” – categories and subcategories of social good topics and causes that are searchable. Interactions among users are organized around these Wayvs. For example, someone looking for an organization or business that invests in wildlife preservation, or the empowerment of indigenous people, or the eradication of disease, will find multiple entities and like-minded users associated with that “Wayv.” They can then discover commonalities, and potentially pool resources to expedite progress and collective impact.

The ImpactWayv app is a promising platform that Benji Bernstein, Co-Founder and Chief Technology Officer at the company, believes businesses, nonprofits, and individuals will find quite valuable“…as they adopt and carry out purpose-driven and social good activities across causes and communities.”ImpactWayv’s leadership is confident that the digital ecosystem they have created will drive substantive collaboration at all levels, and help achieve real success in social action.

University of Florida telecommunications instructor Andrew Selepak has posited that social media is a powerful tool for people and movements to share their stories, enabling them to reach new audiences worldwide. Social media, he adds, provides a firsthand account of the biggest issues facing the world today from those directly impacted.

But Selepak also warns that social media is a means, not an end, and that awareness is a tactic, not a goal. “Slacktivism,” he argues, only becomes true activism and brings true change when a movement has a goal and a means – a plan of action - to achieve it.

Rochelle Ceira, chief editor at Georgetown University’s Center for Social Impact Communication, says that social media is useful for networking with like organizations, connecting with donors or customers, sharing factual information, providing feedback, and also broadcasting a call to action -- all mostly free of charge -- to a worldwide audience.

One caveat for those engaging with social media is the need to foster a free exchange of positive ideas while minimizing the potential damages from their misuse or abuse. Handling diverse views has been challenging, especially for the earlier platforms that may not have developed their approaches to diverse ideas from the outset.

New platforms like ImpactWayv recognize that disagreement can be healthy within a proper framework committed to finding the best solutions to real problems. Rubino, Dolatly, Bernstein and their partners are committed to providing an open forum for dialogue and engagement – not a cancel culture – to enable various well-meaning parties to find common ground for collaboration.

Rubino sees his growing Social [Impact] Media Platform as an accelerator for good works done by free people freely associating, breaking through old “fiefdoms” that in the past have limited the success of often multiple endeavors occupying the same territory.

As businesses and nonprofits alike promote their social good efforts within individual “Wayvs,” they and the public (e.g., donors, potential employees) will quickly discern areas of overlap and commonality that heretofore have been difficult to recognize, let alone organize around, to multiply the good they do.

Rubino’s hope is that people of all stripes will embrace this emerging technology to truly change the world for the better.

Duggan Flanakin is Director of Policy Research at the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow