Twitterstorm Whips Up Action
23 Nov 2009
Be That Change is aiming to build a new movement for change. By inspiring and empowering the UK’s Digital Generation, it hopes to transform poverty and environmental campaigning into an online pursuit.
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‘New challenges require new responses. It’s clear we can no longer wait for our governments to lead on climate change. We must lead. And it’s also clear that change will not come from lone voices. Our collective future depends on our collective voice.’
Kieran Battles, Director, Be That Change
Be That Change is aiming to build a new movement for change. By inspiring and empowering the UK’s Digital Generation, it hopes to transform poverty and environmental campaigning into a pursuit that is online ñ on their turf and on their terms. It is about seizing the opportunity offered by the internet, to unite millions of voices into a wall of sound, demanding policy-makers respond.
The idea is based on making campaigning cool and the reality of campaigning convenient, as is highlighted by one of the young adults who supports it. ‘Give me an organisation that understands what really matters to me and the ways that I use the web, the way I speak to my mates and where I get my music from, then I will get involved.’
Recently launched, Be That Change began with the world’s first Twitterstorm campaign: Get the PM to the UN ñ calling for Prime Minister Gordon Brown to attend the Copenhagen climate change conference in person.
Thousands of people and groups, including British writer and actor Steven Fry, The Guardian and Oxfam, posted messages on the social networking site, Twitter, backing the call. #pm2un’ ñ which is a phrase known as a hashtag’ ñ was included in the messages to show their alliance with the campaign.
At 9am on the first day, #pm2un’ meant nothing. By 9pm the same day, it returned 51,000 Google search results. During the afternoon, the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, Ed Miliband, contacted Be That Change on Twitter asking what their priorities were. Ed was informed that it was for him to directly ask Gordon Brown to attend the conference. While under pressure from a number of campaigns, five days later the Prime Minister became the first political leader to actually pledge his attendance at the Copenhagen conference. Downing Street used the #pm2un’ hashtag when announcing this on Twitter.
‘We wanted to create a new way to campaign that would allow the maximum number of people to add their voice to the call for change. In this instance, it was to get our PM to the UN,’ explains Kieran Battles. ‘The Twitterstorm concept is anything but a gimmick. The science dictates that we must increase the speed and scale of change if we are to deal with the problems we face, in the time we have. The Twitterstorm and open source’ campaigning, are a direct response to this.’
Contact: Be That Change, York House,
15 York Gardens, Bristol, BS8 4LL
Artwork: © Mike Cannings
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