The Facebook event - Candle in My Window – for Tibet, reminded me how effective Facebook can be for "in the news" campaigning.
As most of the general public, aren't associated with a campaigning organisation that sends them regular updates, and even those that are, don't always have the time to absorb the information when it does arrive, news coverage of an issue can act like a lighting bolt, jolting people into being concerned. Unfortunately once concerned many people just don’t know where to go or what to do, to help.
Due to the unpredictability of these Jolt moments, it has been hard in the past, for campaigning organisations to take advantage of the Jolt, when it happens to the issues they work on, during the very short space of time it may be in the news, or that they can happen without advance warning.
This is where sites like Facebook, are coming into play.
Social networks - particularly ones that have a broad subscriber base - are providing people with the space to quickly coalesce when they get interested in an issue, by Jolt moments. And, increasingly that interest is backed up with a desire to demonstrate that they care, by taking symbolic or direct actions and even lifestyle changes.
Over the last 12 months, organizations - large and small – and individuals have taken advantage of the Jolt, to harness the collective energy of people, and directing it towards campaign activities, to pressure targets, take actions or show solidarity. The Support Burma Monks, and the One Million People Say Sorry groups are just two examples, of effective mobilisation for offline and online actions, after their issues dominated news coverage.
It will be interesting to see how the Candle in My Window - for Tibet event, goes in achieving its aims, to show support for the Tibetan cause by getting 100 millon people to place candles or lights in their windows during the Olympic Opening ceremony.
Feel free to add other examples of Jolt campaigns and how they have been used in social networks to mobilise people.