Social Media Karma: The case of Justin Kozuch

cismodes    February 26, 2015

Posted on February 27, 2015 By Christian Ismodes & Dolores Montavez

Organization Name: Justin Kozuch

Industry: Philanthropist and Toronto-based technology reporter

Name of Contact: @jkozuch

Justin Kozuch

The recent tragic death of 3 year old Elijah Marsh is something that has deeply touched us all in Toronto. As soon as the news of this sad incident broke out, Toronto-based technology reporter Justin Kozuch launched an altruistic campaign of “crowdfunding” through Social Media to help Elija’s family with the costs of the funeral. The media describes this as a perfect example of another new phrase in English called “Flash Philanthropy” coined by Michael Johnston back in 1995.

What Justin Kozuch did was to resource to a legally certified technology company specialized in helping communities to collect, fund raise or pool money securely and effectively online. The results, as we all know by now, were nothing less than outstanding,  to say the least!

In 3 days, you raised $173,557 for Elijah’s family. Thank you.

In addition to all the gratitude and praise Justin deserves for his philanthropic initiative, his actions provided us with a shining illustration of the Instant and Reciprocal Power of Social Media.

GOOD KARMA through Social Media…

In this blog we wanted to explore the concept of  “how to benefit from emotional content” without diminishing the praiseworthy initiative of a “good cause”, be it the case of Elijah Marsh or similar campaigns holding an altruistic, kind or humanitarian purpose in their core.  The good karma for Justin may be the near “stardom” profile he has acquired as a result of mobilizing 4, 732 of us into supporting  a grieving family, unknown to all  just a few days before, with $173,557 raised over three days.

If we had access to Justin’s social media metrics we will most likely see a huge spike in activity during the campaign and now, we think it is safe to speculate that many of those who got to know Justin via #RIPElijah, would remain  connected to him as social media followers or will join some of his networks. We hope that’s the case, because he really is the “quintessential cool guy”. We made an attempt to contact Justin Kozuch via his website contact page for a chance to verify our assumption about the change to his social media metrics, but we haven’t heard back from him yet.

If we are correct in our assumption, this experience is a great example of how putting social media tools  and strategies to  good use can create  Good Social Media Karma and benefit both, a worthy cause and an innovative philanthropist.  We could follow Justin’s sense of humanity doing social media “good” and at the same time see our social media influence reach new heights in return.

This is what we can learn from Justin Kozuch’s #RIPElijah campaign:

  • He tapped into the collective sorrow for the loss of the child and moved to action

  • He chose a reputable organization and set up an account to collect donations (1)
  • He created the tag line #RIPElijah
  • He was as surprised as everyone else by the success of the campaign.


Justin’s clear message about the power of Social Media is not lost to us:   “It signals how effective raising small amounts of money… can be used to offset costs not only of tragic incidents but for other opportunities such as an artist wanting to produce his own album or a company wanting to develop a product”. If we use Social Media with noble intentions and transparency a bounty of positive returns can come our way. And we couldn’t agree more.

Submitted by: Dolores Montavez and Christian Ismodes – SMBP Student, University of Waterloo.

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