There's no better springboard for creating a movement than social media. And when an online push gathers momentum and reaches a tipping point, stand back.
So this week, instead of being distracted by podgy Korean singers and other wonderfully silly stuff, we thought we’d shine a light on what can happen when an inspiring cause captures the imagination. Below are some of our favourite examples from the last few years.
Rage Against the Machine versus X Factor.
When Jon Morter, a rock fan from Essex, couldn’t stomach the thought of an X Factor number one for the fifth Christmas in a row, he turned to Facebook for help. The protest group that he started urged people to rage against the machine by downloading a track by, cunningly enough, Rage Against the Machine. Support swelled, and after the likes of Paul McCartney weighed in, the number of downloads reached 500,000 – enough to claim top spot. Power to the people.
Brothers in need get nationwide exposure.
After two orphaned brothers from Texas were left with serious injuries following a car crash, the medical bills soon began to mount up. To encourage donations, a Facebook page was set up. Word travelled fast, and after Justin Beiber used his Twitter account (which at the time had over 11 million followers) to urge his fans to donate to the brothers’ cause, nationwide exposure and a text-to-donate number followed.
How school meals became a big deal.
Nine-year old Martha Payne started her blog, ‘Never Seconds’, as a way to rate her school lunches. Each day she would add a photo and a Food-o-meter score. Within two weeks she attracted more than a million readers along with posts from other students from all over the world who shared photos and verdicts of their own. ‘Never Seconds’ not only became a book, it raised money for Mary’s Meals (a charity that funds school lunches in Africa) and ended up as The Observer Food Blog of the Year.
The Best Job in the World.
Being a caretaker isn’t everyone’s idea of the best job in the world. Then again, not every caretaker vacancy comes with an ocean view of the Great Barrier Reef. The ‘Best Job’ campaign offered one lucky blogger the chance to live in Queensland’s Hamilton Island. As the role involved blogging, it immediately attracted the attention of bloggers from all over the world. Potential employees were asked to apply via YouTube, and social networking resulted in almost 35,000 video applications from 197 countries (as well as global news coverage, a BBC documentary and a record haul of advertising awards).