It’s no secret that Twitter and other types of social media can be used to mobilize a conversation. In these cases, anything from a tragic event to a social crisis can spark a movement. All it really takes is a platform that can reach millions, and an idea that can be debated. Before you know it, Twitter goes from being a simple mode of communication to a space within which movements are formed, maintained and spread widely.
Here are 6 impressive Twitter campaigns that work to give a voice to the people, and to allow them to speak out about the issues that trouble us everyday. They are not just Tweets, they are what make up a social movement.
In May of this year, Elliot Rodger went on a rampage, killing six people and then himself. The massacre culminated from a series of YouTube videos and a 141 page manifesto in which Rodger declared his hatred for women. This rage directed at women eventually led him to commit such a heinous crime. Shortly thereafter, women decided to use the opportunity, turning it into something positive, they took to Twitter to speak out against violence against women. Specifically, they focused on the idea that misogyny and anti-feminist ideals impact the lives of every woman. Soon enough #YessAllWomen took over Twitter, creating a space in which women could share stories and inform the public that while it’s true that not all men are abusive, Yes – All Women experience male abuse in some form at some point in their lives, from harassment, to sexual assault, to other physical violences.
In April, Nigeria made international headlines when the terrorist group Boko Haram broke into a girls’ boarding school in the dead of night and kidnapped over 200 students. The tragedy sparked the Twitter campaign #BringBackOurGirls in which many celebrity women proudly participated. The purpose was to spread a message of support; to assure the public that while it seemed very little was being done to help the girls, that there were many people who did care. Some celebs who took part include Amy Poehler, Angelina Jolie, and even the First Lady, Michelle Obama. The effort to raise awareness did not go unnoticed and was covered by many online news sites. Michelle Obama also took time to speak out about the subject during the President’s Weekly Address. The movement remains intact, with its facebook page regularly updating the public on the status of the missing girls. As of July 9th, it has been reported on the page that 30 of the girls have escaped with the help of hunters. Visit the page to see how you can support #BringBackOurGirls.
Holly Robinson Peete has been an advocate for autism awareness since the diagnosis of her son in 1998. Recently, her charity, The HollyRod Foundation teamed up with AT&T to create the Speak Hope campaign. It was a social sharing initiative that seeks to provide tablets equipped with new technology to children living with autism. The purpose is to give them the opportunity to communicate, as many children with the disorder never can. 1$ was donated to the cause for each tweet or re-tweet of #ATTSpeakHope. While finding out your child has developmental disorder of this nature would be devastating, Holly has gone out of her way to bring as much positive to the scenario as possible and has proven to be quite the warrior in the fight.
On the whole, there are actually very few countries in the world with national policies to protect and ensure children’s right to quality education. In response to this devastating fact, in 2010, UNICEF launched a digital campaign in support of India’s decision to recognize this right. Awaaz do, which means “speak up” in Hindi was chosen as the name in order to urge Indian society to speak up for the 8 million+ children who have been denied such rights. Using social networking (Twitter) as the platform allows far more people to get actively involved, this way those who feel powerless, voiceless and are otherwise marginalized, can support the campaign. The movement continues on Twitter today.
After being highly criticized for his misogynistic lyrics, Robin Thicke’s team decided to promote his newest album with a Twitter campaign, #AskThicke. The point was to allow the public to voice their concerns directly to the singer, and get responses that would (ideally) satisfy them, and turn down the heat. But it has backfired. Instead, Twitter users are using the campaign as an opportunity to call him out for what they view as his sexist ways. Clearly, the campaign has now become a platform to propel the social movement of feminism. While he is receiving a lot of attention because of it, the negative responses might mean he will need to find a new approach to garnering a growing fan-base. His controversial lyrics have catapulted him to stardom, but in this case, it’s not necessarily a good thing.
Here are some of the comments the campaign has sparked (via network9):
In December 2013, a Twitter campaign headed by the Staffordshire Police Dept. made headlines. #DrinkDrivers was designed to shame those who had been charged with drinking and driving within Staffordshire jurisdiction. Why this would be controversial is a no brainer, and yet, when an online survey of 500 people was issued, it proved that there was overwhelming support for the name game. Nearly 61% of those surveyed believed it would deter drinking and driving. Foundations such as MADD have been campaigning for years to get people to think about the consequences, but this Twitter campaign’s approach was far more bold than anything we’ve ever seen before. It is a blatant confrontation of the social crisis that is driving under the influence, which steals lives everyday.