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Could we use social media in a way to benefit the world?

Could we add something to social media networks that would overall benefit us as a society? In 2009 CAPTCHA was made so that when you input two words into a site to see if your human, one of those words will go to helping digitize books. Is there any method where we could do something of this general nature to social media? Millions of people spend so long on these sites that there must be some way that their time can be put to good use. Ideas?

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    Lejan .

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    Jul 25 2013: Are you certain that the Captcha idea is used to '..benefit us as a society', or to generate free labor in the interest of private companies?

    When I look ate the widely used reCaptcha system, which was acquired by Google, I find that it '... has worked on digitizing the archives of The New York Times and books from Google Books.'

    I don't know if the New York Times archives are free of charge for all people to be used, but I know that Google books is highly controversial and definitely not without financial interest in its background.

    Recently you find a lot of numbers to be converted, which appear to be part of Googles 'Street View' project, which is 'free of use' so far, yet nothing but a service of a private company, which does have its way to make their profits.

    So to me it looks more like 'free labor' than 'beneficial to society' ...

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ReCAPTCHA


    Besides that, there are truly 'beneficial' activities you can choose from in the @home compartment of distributed computing projects:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_distributed_computing_projects

    A media which is and should be social ... :o)
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    Jul 26 2013: social media has added nothing to what could be and was achieved by people before it came along. it's a bit like asking if we can use gossip groups to benefit the world - it will largely depend on the group and what their motives are..
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    Jul 25 2013: As the largest users of the social media are young people, it would be a good idea to give them what they want. How can you know what that is? Ask them. Keep a record. Add it up. Build it and take it live. Once you have captured an audience, you will have the income to do much good in the world.
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    Jul 25 2013: I have this feeling that it will become the province of the retired to carry on being effective humans still adding their significance to the planet. Experience cannot be transferred but can be accessed.
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      Jul 25 2013: I am not certain if I got your point correctly here, but did you just degrade all other but the retired generations into insignificance?