UN experiments with autoscheduling on steroids for World Humanitarian Day

World Humanitarian Day - ThunderclapThe problem with many social media campaigns is that individual messages of support get lost and that the campaign never gathers enough momentum to go viral. Thunderclap is a service that helps you focus the voices of your supporters on a specific date. The UN is now using it to promote World Humanitarian Day (August 19).

Imagine you get 1,000 people to tweet a message in support of your goals – no easy feat for most small  non-profit organizations and NGOs. If these tweets happen over the course of a month, then only 33 messages get posted per day and these will easily be missed by most people. However, if these 1,000 tweets were released on the same day, then it is far more likely that people would see it and – once they have seen a message a few times – maybe even wonder what all the hubbub is about and click on the link to your website.

Autoschedule your support

With Thunderclap you can define a message and a day on which you want it to be published. In the days and weeks prior to the event, you then try to convince your followers to support your Thunderclap. To do that, your supporters authorize Thunderclap to release your message on their personal Facebook and/or Twitter profile on the set date. It’s basically a mass autoschedule-service on steroids.

In the case of this year’s World Humanitarian Day, the message is:

“This World Humanitarian Day I’m doing something good, somewhere, for someone else. Join me! #WHD2012 #IWASHERE http://thndr.it/PkC2Xe

And while this is not necessarily the most exciting message, it’s very UN in the sense that nobody can object to it. In addition the UN (I guess it’s OCHA) has gotten Beyonce to record a short video-message supporting the cause.

Interesting concept

I find the idea behind Thunderclap quite interesting since it allows you to focus the support of your fans/followers on a specific day and I’m curious to see whether it’ll help the UN increase attention for World Humanitarian Day.

* Update 30 August 2012: Mashable has an interesting, short article on the outcomes of the campaign.

  • Thanks for the analysis, as at Monday, 13 August 2012, 07:33 BST, Thunderclap is reporting a social reach of 99,747,293, with a target reach of one billion people by 19 August. This is achievable but requires thousands of activists to sustain the online effort for the rest of the week. Let's see if the humanitarian community has the stamina and reach to make it happen.

  • Just came across Thunderclap yesterday in relation to this campaign. Looks like an excellent and much needed tool and development. Thanks for the analysis. SM4G is a seriously good place to visit and keep up with the mad whirligig world of social media. Keep up the great work!