Abraham Gutman and Dania Darwish, a Jewish and Arab student at Hunter College in New York City decided to react immediately after the start of Operation Protective Edge in Gaza, on 8 of July. Gutman and Darwish posted a picture on the Internet under a meaningful hashtag #JewsAndArabsRefuseToBeEnemies. The post encouraged hundreds of compatriots around the world to imitate them, flooding the net with lovely pictures and a clear message: two nations can coexist in peace and any attitude must be mocked. This is the last and most popular viral campaign, but it is since couple of years ago that social networks such as Facebook, Twitter and Youtube have become a powerful verbal weapon to fight against any kind of violence, dictationship or inequality.
On March 2012, the non-profit organization, Invisible Children Inc launched a campaign to arrest Joseph Kony, the leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), a guerrilla group which used to operate in Uganda. The hype-centre of the campaign was a 30-minute viral video titled KONY 2012 published in Youtube which was used to spread the word. Its film maker Jason Rusell, aware of the power of the social network, included this reflection at the beginning of the short:
Right now there are more people on Facebook than in the world 200 years ago. Humanity greatest desire is to connect, and now we can see each other. We hear each other. We share what we like. And this connection is changing the way the world works. Governments are trying to keep up and older generations are concerned. The game has new rules.
The KONY 2012 campaign started as an experiment. Could an online video make an obscure war criminal famous? And if he was famous, would the world work together to stop him? The experiment yielded the fastest growing viral video of all time. The KONY 2012 film reached 100 million views in 6 days, and 3.7 million people pledged their support for efforts to arrest Joseph Kony.
But violence, poverty and conflicts are not always the target to be stopped or struggled through viral campaigns. Sexism, homophobia, racism and bullying, for instance, are other problems that need to be solved. “What does it mean to do things #LikeAGirl and how does it impact girls’ confidence?” asked the viral campaign produced by Allways – a private company which sells sanitary pads. After two months more than 47 million peoples watched and almost 150 thousand liked it.
Internet has brought a waste of time, a sea of accessible information which is not always contrasted and also some threats, but also a new way of communication, a new way to bring social or environmental issues to the light and spread the awareness among the public.
Sometimes it is as easy as taking a picture, and sometimes is needed a 10-year work to create a successful campaign. But nobody can deny that now is the greatest moment to change the direction of the world.
Suggest ideas in our FB and join efforts to create something to wake up conscience!