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The Dragonfly Effect

Quick, Effective, and Powerful Ways To Use Social Media to Drive Social Change

By Jennifer Aaker, Andy Smith with Carlye Adler
12-minute read
Audio available
The Dragonfly Effect: Quick, Effective, and Powerful Ways To Use Social Media to Drive Social Change by Jennifer Aaker, Andy Smith with Carlye Adler

The Dragonfly Effect explains how anyone can harness the power of social media to get people behind meaningful social change.

  • Anyone who works or wants to work with social media
  • Anyone who wants to change the world
  • Anyone who wants to make their voice heard

Jennifer Aaker is a social psychologist and marketer who is currently a marketing professor at Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business. Her work has been featured in several prominent magazines, including The Economist and The New York Times.

Andy Smith is a seasoned technology marketing executive, and Aaker’s husband.

 

Jennifer Aaker and Andy Smith: The Dragonfly Effect copyright, John Wiley & Sons Inc. Used by permission of John Wiley & Sons Inc. and shall not be made available to any unauthorized third parties.

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The Dragonfly Effect

Quick, Effective, and Powerful Ways To Use Social Media to Drive Social Change

By Jennifer Aaker, Andy Smith with Carlye Adler
  • Read in 12 minutes
  • Audio & text available
  • Contains 7 key ideas
The Dragonfly Effect: Quick, Effective, and Powerful Ways To Use Social Media to Drive Social Change by Jennifer Aaker, Andy Smith with Carlye Adler
Synopsis

The Dragonfly Effect explains how anyone can harness the power of social media to get people behind meaningful social change.

Key idea 1 of 7

Enacting social change via social media is possible through the Dragonfly Effect.

In nature, the dragonfly is the only insect that can deftly and quickly maneuver in any direction in mid-air. It achieves this feat by using all of its four wings beautifully in concert.

Similarly, if you want to enact social change through social media, there are four “wings” that can produce astounding results, but only if used in concert as meticulously as the dragonfly’s wings.

To illustrate the point, let’s examine how these four wings are used by Samasource, a Kenyan charity organization that finds digital work for unemployed women and youths in impoverished countries.

First, there is the so-called Focus wing: you must identify a simple concrete goal that you want to motivate others to achieve. For example, Samasource’s focus is simply to provide women, youths and refugees with dignified work so they can earn a living.

Second, there’s the Grab Attention wing: if you want to reach people, you first need to get their attention. In its communications, Samasource emphasizes that unemployment can lead to social ills, such as gangs and terrorism – definite attention-grabbers!

Third, there’s the Engage wing: if you want your audience to take action on behalf of your cause, you need to make them care about it by creating a personal connection to them. Samasource does this by sharing personal stories about the people it helps, but also about the donors who provide work for them.

Finally, there’s the Take Action wing: you must enable and empower others to actually take action to further your cause. Here, Samasource offers three levels of action, the choice of which depends on the donor’s resources. The most desirable action would be for the donor to outsource work to Samasource. After that comes donating money. And, finally, the most basic supporting action is to promote the organization. This range of options helps and encourages all kinds of supporters to take part.

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