Did you participate in the Twit-Out yesterday? Do you even know what that is? To get you up to speed, a handful of Twitter users, fed up with the regular outages of their favorite service, decided to band together to show Twitter some tough love by boycotting the service for a day. (Unfortunately, despite having fewer users on the service, Twitter still went down). However, in light of recent world events, it's a shame that the cause the tech community has chosen to rally around is that of Twitter's instability. Aren't there more important things going on right now?

Instead of watching Twitter's ups and downs, we the members of the tech community could be using our social media super-powers to make a real difference in the world. We know how to spread news fast, share images and videos, organize our friends, and empower others all by using the same social media tools that we use in our every day lives. Isn't it time we put them to use towards a good cause? Below are some great examples as to how that can be done.

Blog for the Victims of the Chinese Earthquake

Forrester Analyst Jeremiah Owyang has been using his blog to bring attention to the situation in China after its devastating earthquake which may eventually claim over 50,000 lives. Jeremiah used his blog as a platform to inspire people to donate money to the Red Cross. On May 15th, he blogged a series of photos compiled from his trips to China which showed images of everyday life in China, cityscapes, beautiful outdoor shots of flowers and gardens, and smiling children, among many other things. He followed up again on the 20th, this time to help people understand what a large number of people were affected by the quake. This post showed pictures of U.S. cities in an attempt to illustrate how many are homeless after the Chinese quake.

He has also made sure to update both posts with a link that allows you to Digg the story.

Raise Money for a Cause via Twitter

When our very own Corvida awoke to a tornado tearing through her neighborhood on May 11th, she immediately Twittered the news. After hours went by she checked back in and was greeted with tweets of concern and support. Then, when her family couldn't afford the hotel room rates in the area, she hesitantly reached out to Twitter for help. Her Twitter family didn't let her down - donations came pouring in. She received about $150 total - enough for the hotel room and then some. She used the remaining funds to help the other families on her street with their needs, buying them supplies and food. This showed that even a small community like that of Corvida's Twitter social circle can affect a big change on many lives.

Support Social Causes on Facebook & MySpace

A post earlier this year on RWW highlighted some ways that Facebook was being used as a vehicle for social change. One of those ways is the Facebook Causes application, which "connects thousands of people with common interests in humanitarian efforts." You can use the app to browse through all sorts of social causes which include relief efforts, environmental causes, political causes, educational efforts, and more. For example, there's now the Red Cross's Causes Page which helps raise money and awareness for the relief efforts in China. There is also a similar service on MySpace called Impact, which is more like a portal for non-profits group activity, featuring news, videos and events..

Use YouTube to Promote Charities

Last December, we wrote about how two brothers used YouTube to promote various charities. The brothers started a project called "Nerdfighters Power Project for Awesome," which entailed a series of videos, each featuring a certain charity. Their videos briefly became YouTube's most discussed videos, filling each one of the slots on the YouTube's Most Discussed Videos page. They didn't use any tricks to do so, either. Instead, they reached out to the YouTube community to generate interest, messaging many high-profile YouTubers and generating a mailing list of around 4,000 interested people who were later alerted when it was time to act.

Use Your Mobile Phone to Spread News, Make Change Happen

As we reported in April, a UN report showed that mobile technology is changing the way that non-governmental organizations (NGOs) work, using mobile technology to overcome humanitarian challenges. According to Timothy E. Wirth, President of the United Nations Foundation, the technology is being used to "connect families separated by disaster, help emergency relief workers respond more quickly, empower health workers with data to help combat disease and epidemics, track the impacts of climate change, and even help in the resolution of civil conflicts."

The technology is also heavily used today to get information from citizen journalists to the mainstream media. For example, during last year's wildfires in California, major news outlets like NBC San Diego and CNN's i-Report each received around 2,000 submissions of photos and video from people who sent in submissions via their mobile phones. In fact, CenterNetworks reported that the spread of information didn't even stop there, but that other social media sites like flickr, YouTube, Twitter, and others were also used to get the word out.

And if you want to get involved with mobile activism, there is MobileActive.org, a site that is an all-volunteer community of people and organizations using mobile phones for social impact. Their aim is to promote the use of mobile technology, which can help NGO's better serve their communities.

Use Viral Marketing Techniques to Send a Message

A recent spinoff of the infamous "Hot or Not" web site launched by MTV’s college network and the non-profit Kaiser Family Foundation, is www.posornot.com. The questionably tasteful but well-intentioned site is an educational effort on the subject of HIV. Disguised as a game, visitors click to guess whether the people in the photos shown are "Pos" (positive for HIV) or "Not." The message, obviously, being that you can't tell just by how someone looks.

Social Network for Social Good

A post on the Online Spin blog focuses on how social media can be used for social good. Featured in the article are numerous sites that harness the power of social connections for good causes, like Charity Water for example, which aims to get the word out about the need for clean drinking water worldwide, and Jessica Biel's social network, the "Make the Difference Network", where she uses her celebrity status to get people involved. There are other great sites you can get involved in, too, like Idealist and Change.org.

Time For Change

Even on a smaller scale in the tech community, we have "internet celebrities" of our own. If they chose do to so, they could influence their fans and followers to do much more than just sign up for the next greatest web app.

All across the social web, you'll find sites where members of the tech community are helping non-profit organizations help leverage the power of the social web to do good. Sites like NetSquared and NTEN, for example, are great resources for helping non-profits. And here at RWW, we put together a Web Toolkit for Non-Profits, which included tools for creating a web site, communication, fund-raising, recruiting, and more.

Have you been inspired to do good via social media? Let us know how in the comments.