Beyond Advertising: Facebook For Peace Meets Julia Ward Howe

Even though marketers may seem to ruin it today, I was reminded that Mother’s Day in the US actually grew out of the peace movement. It was first proposed by Julia Ward Howe back in 1870 in a  Mother’s Day Proclamation that called for a meeting of all women:

To promote the alliance of the different nationalities,
The amicable settlement of international questions,
The great and general interests of peace.

This was the same Julia Ward Howe who wrote “The Battle Hymn of the Republic,” and was wife to Samuel Gridley Howe, the first director of Perkins School for the Blind, where Helen Keller would later study. Three of Howe’s children would go on to win a Pulitzer Prize for their collective authorship of their mother’s biography in 1916. Who’d think her interests would overlap with Facebook in 2011?

Facebook Friends for Peace
An infographic from Friends Without Borders, posted this week, shows a strong increase in friendships across conflicted borders, such as between Israel and Palestine.

Elite Infrastructure
As some on the net bemoan that “the best minds of our generation are thinking about how to make people click on Facebook ads,” I’d invite you to question the premise. Perhaps the best minds are using ideas to change the world, and those of us who specialize in monetizing the social medium are just their infrastructure.

In Julia Ward Howe’s day, the “best minds” were likely in finance or trade. But on this Mother’s Day, consider that the Howes, who inspired abolitionists, taught those who would teach the blind across the world, and raised devoted, Pulitzer-winning children, seem like the smart ones. And the MBAs of their day were just necessary, talented, elite infrastructure.

Happy Mother’s Day!

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