In the days before the Internet, before social media, before one-to-many interaction was put at the fingertips of anyone with a Facebook or Twitter account, the statement that summed up the thoughts of the silent majority was: ‘I can’t make a difference, so I’m not going to try.’
Now, though, there is a feeling that, with the right content, one person can make a difference – thanks to the reach of social media. It’s a theory the Kony 2012 film put to the test. It’s a theory the spread of anti-government uprisings throughout the Middle East has affirmed. And it’s a theory the makers of a new YouTube video are counting on to help their content go viral and make a difference.
1. Mumbai Blasts 2011
The hashtags #heretohelp #needhelp went viral along with a google doc sheet that contained crowd sourced information like phone numbers for lifts, addresses for accommodation, blood types for donations, blood bank numbers, nearby hospital, police control rooms, names of missing persons etc. There were tweeple moderating the open source sheet to edit out information that seemed fake or malicious.
2. Anna Hazare Campaign
There is no stronger case study that disproves that online engagement for a cause stops at arm chair activism. With over 5 lakh fans on Facebook and remaining in the top list of trending topics in India during all of his fasting period, Anna Hazare not only just gathered the support of and mobilized millions across the globe online and offline but also sustained the interest of the people, tweeple and media with his determination with the Lokpal bill.
3. 60th Earth Hour
It is the one of the globally imported campaigns that was the most widespread and saw a successful implementation in India. Five million Indians in public gatherings, residential houses, hotels, government centres and commercial centres switched off their lights in 65 cities. Of course, this is one of the most heavily budgeted and endorsed campaign by a non profit in India involving celebrity endorsement, advertisement, Government lobbying etc. But that doesn’t take the credit away from the simplicity of the act, its ‘virality’ potential, its lack of frills and controversial angle as well as the direct impact it has in making the common man feel like a part of ‘change’ i.e. in raising awareness towards global warming.
4. Bell Bajao Campaign
Domestic violence was once upon a time considered as “someone else’s private affair” until this campaign changed the popular perception, especially for many men and boys. The campaign not only moved many to come out of the closet of abuse on their blog but also inspired tweeple to live report incidents of violence in their neighbourhood or even their gym!
5. Justice For Keenan and Reuben
On October 20th, 2011 Keenan Santos and Reuben Fernandez were heavily injured in Andheri West, Mumbai following an attack by a group of over dozen men. Keenan died a few hours post the incident while Reuben struggled for his life in Kokilaben hospital. Facebook and Twitter were abuzz with messages of shock and support with 100 people showing up to donate blood for Reuben in response to a tweet that was passed around. Mainstream media did not pick it up in their editorials or discussions until Reuben passed away 8 days later. Along with Zero Tolerance Campaign, they collected over a lakh signatures online and on a piece of cloth that was presented to Home Minister R.R. Patil to take stronger measures against sexual harassment as well as the public outcry online has led to the case getting fast tracked in court.