Earlier this week, the Royal British Legion revealed plans for an innovative way for Twitter and Facebook users to get involved in this year’s Remembrance Sunday by instigating a two-minute social silence.
For the benefit of our overseas readers; Remembrance Sunday takes place on the second Sunday of every November in the UK when we take a moment to pay respect to all the people who fought and gave their lives during the two World Wars, and the conflicts that have taken place since the mid-1940s. This Sunday will have extra significance as it falls on November 11, which is the day World War One ended in 1918.
Exactly 94 years on from that momentous day in history, social media users can make a very unique tribute of their own. The Royal British Legion, a UK charity which provides help and support to members of the Armed Forces past and present, are using a social media tool called Thunderclap to raise awareness of the customary two-minute silence that will take place at 11am on Sunday.
Thunderclap allows single messages to be shared simultaneously at a specific time on the different social channels. Sign up to the Royal British Legion’s campaign and Thunderclap will automatically post a tweet/Facebook status at 9am on Sunday, ensuring your followers realise that the two-minute silence is taking place later that day and hopefully observe it both online and offline.
It’ll be interesting to see how tangibly effective the Thunderclap is for the British Legion. Other organisations to have used the tool recently include Oxfam, Breast Cancer Care and World Humanitarian Day, with the latter Thunderclap campaign having a social reach of a staggering 1.2 billion thanks to support from high-profile stars such as Justin Bieber.
Of course, it’s unlikely that the Royal British Legion’s campaign will be seen by such a big social audience, however, it’s undoubtedly a brilliant initiative, especially in terms of exposure and education, and with so many young people active on Facebook and Twitter.
There are of course other ways out there of showing your support. There are tools such as Twibbon, which allows you to add the iconic poppy (the adopted motif of the RBL) to your Facebook or Twitter profile picture to show your support, as well as the ability to donate and post messages, urging your friends and family to dig deep.
Can social platforms do more?
From all of this, one interesting question that arises for me is: Could/should Facebook and Twitter be more proactive to support events like Remembrance Sunday? After all, social media is often hailed as a catalyst for change in society. With all their might, why not create a global awareness event, where tweets/status updates could be prohibited during the two-minute silence? Who else would have the power to affect a World Remembrance Day? Or is it the community’s place to do that, rather than the platform itself?
Either way, this Sunday why not extend your two-minute remembrance to your online conversations, and spare a thought, and indeed a ‘tweet’ for those who have died for our way of life.
And if you don’t have one already, get your poppy from www.poppyshop.org.uk