COM0011 #5 – #signalboost

The internet cause campaign is the new trend of spreading a cause like wildfire across internet platforms in the hopes of creating awareness to the cause. Such topics include LGBTQ rights, Joseph Kony, and most recently, the kidnapping of over 200 school girls in Nigeria by terrorist group Boko Haram. This awareness is generated on many different platforms, but is most commonly spread through use of a hashtag (which if you were unaware, is this little sign here #).

Two years ago, the popular trending awareness hashtag going around was #KONY2012, which was used to call attention to the child soldier crimes and numerous other offences committed by Ugandan rebel leader, Joseph Kony. This campaign began with a video started by a group called Invisible Children. It began with a very effective video campaign uploaded to Invisible Children‘s Youtube channel, and ended up soaring across the internet, gaining tons of momentum.


It was effective in garnering attention, no doubt about it. Everyone knew Joseph Kony’s name. But how effective was it really?

The year is now 2014, and Joseph Kony is still at large.

Social Media is a very effective tool in connecting, creating, and sharing content and information. Creating awareness over world issues is something that certainly needs to happen. People need to know about what’s going on in the world, in order for peace to hopefully be achieved one day. But how effective is it really to sit at a computer and type a simple hashtag?

What I’m getting at here is that people need to learn to both spread that awareness, and also be proactive about the cause. You can’t just sit by idly on your computer and expect results because you retweeted something with #InsertCauseHere. People need to actually get up and do something about the problem. Anything they can. Whether it be something as little as a $1 donation, or even a simple signature on a government petition. That’s the sort of thing that achieves results at the end of the day.

My question is this: Are these internet campaigns really worth it? Do you see it progressing into something a little more productive in the future? Personally, I think there’s potential in it. The right person to utilize that potential just has yet to come along.

4 thoughts on “COM0011 #5 – #signalboost

  1. Sounds like you want to know if people will do the hard work. It is pretty easy to hit a like button or to retweet isn’t it?
    Just watching social media around politics here in Ontario. I think there is still a risk in retweeting and liking something politically, if you work in the public sector and you retweet the wrong slogan or like the wrong guy are you at risk?
    Not quite the same as the internet causes but I think similar.
    I think you are right saying that it is one thing to support something electronically but another actually doing something more than sharing although the argument could be made that at least in sharing you might bring the message to someone who will do some of the heavy lifting?
    Vader for Premier! #darthvader #premiere 🙂

    • I believe there’s a risk to pretty much anything posted on Social Media, especially as an official or public persona. Not everyone likes what everyone else does, after all, so posting anything related to personal support, interest, etc. is a risk in losing supporters.

      And that is true! Word of mouth is a useful tool for spreading a message to someone who does have the power to do something. But there’s also no guarantee that it’ll happen, right?

  2. I agree with your post in a lot of ways, but I think the key is word of mouth without a call to action can be a lost cause. Take the Kony example, I bet if you asked many of those people who shared or retweeted that story a couple years ago they couldn’t define who he is today from memory.
    I believe that with the amount of activity in social media today the power of the hashtag is often over estimated. Remember Ellen’s group selfie, boy did that post escalate quickly, but the result, nothing. It’s important to create content that is engaging, like the Kony video itself, but it’s also vital to have a call to action that is easy enough for your participants to see through.
    Thanks for the thought provoking read!

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