Here’s our interview with Vinay Nair, CEO and Co-founder of Lightful, about their recent #Reclaimsocial campaign. 

  1. Tell us about the #ReclaimSocial media campaign, and why you started it.

Our social media feeds are almost entirely filled with negativity nowadays. It’s become a ferocious battleground, rather than somewhere we go to share stories, connect and support each other. Whether it’s trolls, fake news or just angry people – all this negative noise seems to have taken over the social platforms.

But we also recognised that it’s not all bad. We’ve seen many glimpses of positivity that deserve our attention. 1 million people signed a petition on to “end tax havens now”; the #MeToo campaign is giving a voice to millions of women (abuse charities received a 30% spike in calls when some of the major allegations first broke); and $274 million was raised online in 24 hours on #GivingTuesday.

Countless charities and social enterprises are using social media in a positive way to reach more people and amplify their impact.

That’s why we came up with the idea of a movement to reclaim social media, and move away from the negativity and focus on social media being a force for good.

And so… #ReclaimSocial was born!

  1. What role can charities play in the campaign?

Charities have many of the best stories to tell and we need to celebrate their work. Often those amazing stories can be drowned out in this negativity. So we want the movement to capture the great work that so many organisations out there are doing.

By including messages under the single banner hashtag #ReclaimSocial, we want to drive more attention to this work. This movement is about giving charities an opportunity to share their inspiring stories so we can spread the positivity on social media.

So if you are a charity, please spread your stories of good and include the hashtag #ReclaimSocial. It can about a campaign you are working on, how social media has helped you, the results of your work or even calling out a friend or colleague who has inspired you!

  1. It’s an exciting and ambitious initiative. What does success look like?

As ambitious as it may sound, we’d like to be part of fundamentally having social media being used as a force of good. There are supportive headwinds – last week, the Prime Minister said that ‘Social media should be a force for good… but it is being exploited and abused often anonymously’. Former executives of the major social networks are also vocally sharing their thoughts. So we think we are in a unique moment to create a lasting impact.

The #ReclaimSocial movement has just started but we’ve been humbled and inspired by the response.

We’ve seen more than 1,000 people posting about the campaign with a reach of 13 million that got us trending on Twitter on day one. Since then we’ve reached 17 million impressions and this number continues to grow.

With the support of the good people at OutdoorPlus, we had our message on 7 billboards in iconic locations around London, including Wembley Way, Cheyne Walk and Euston Road Underpass.We really appreciated the press coverage that the campaign received, in publications such as Third Sector and UK Fundraising.

But most importantly, we’ve seen so many amazing posts about how people are reclaiming social media. 99% of all posts with #ReclaimSocial were positive and only 1% were neutral. It’s great to see so much positivity around the movement.

We’ve also hopefully helped to shine a light on some amazing causes, and we are proud to have helped in any way we can.

As Ruth Owen OBE, CEO of Whizz-Kidz, wonderfully said: “Social media is hugely important for many of the young wheelchair users we support, not only for connecting with their friends but also the wider world. What’s more, Whizz-Kidz sees social media as a vital tool for raising the voice of young disabled people and challenging negative perceptions of disability, and for us #ReclaimSocial is an opportunity to celebrate the individuals and organisations using these platforms to effect positive change.”

  1. Finally, what do you see as the big social media trends for 2018?

As mentioned, it feels like a seminal year for the future of social media.

There will also be fundamental questions that will begin to be addressed, assessing our fundamental relationship with technology. As you asked, Zoe, should the social media platforms be regulated? How will anonymity be addressed? What will be done about extremist videos and hate-crime?

More specifically, Facebook’s latest algorithm change indicates that there will be a bigger focus on engagement. There is a great opportunity for charities to focus on Facebook’s desire for “Well-being”, “Community”, “Meaningful social interactions” – that’s language straight from Facebook’s information updates, which play to the sector’s strengths.

There will also be a growth of the ‘thumb-stopping’ content, often video, that stands out from the noise across social media. Such videos, and compelling images, will become more popular and it’s up to all of us to use these creatively to reach a wider audience.

There are major challenges ahead, but with what the sector exists to do, the wind can actually be in our sails to make a meaningful impact and recalibrate the very use of social media. I am fundamentally an optimist, and that fills me with hope.

To learn more, go to