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Social Media and the Gift Economy: Volunteerism in the Vanguard

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The rise of social media is contributing to the return to prominence of what is called ‘the gift economy.’ As social networks and online communities grow, values such as sharing, openness and collaboration are increasingly governing our relationships and the connections between us.

According to writer Patrick Daniels, social media facilitates volunteerism and other giving activities on a grand new scale, with the assistance of recent developments in technology, critical mass usage and more visibility.  Yet even as our social lives move online, Daniels argues that the field of volunteerism seems ambivalent about this increasingly social web and unsure about how to harness its potential for the benefit of volunteering programmes. This e-Volunteerism feature article attempts to untangle the connection between social media and volunteerism, and sets out a framework for understanding the kind of opportunities social media offers those in volunteer management.