Last night’s Giants’ win was another notch on our belt—sorry Gisele #prayhardernexttime—after quite a victorious couple of weeks for issues crucial to Vixely’s mission. The 2 biggest wins, Komen vs Planned Parenthood and SOPA taxes, demonstrate the power of social media in producing change. These two case studies also provide interesting insights on the industries that will shape the future of the American economy.
The Women and Technology Wins of 2012:
1. Komen Reverses Planned Parenthood Decision: Nancy Brinker, founder of Susan G. Komen for the Cure reversed its decision to pull funding for breast cancer screenings from Planned Parenthood following a massive public backlash. Brinker apologized on Friday and said Komen will preserve its eligibility for future grants and to continue funding existing grants (note this is not a promise though to renew Planned Parenthood funding). The bigger win, however, is that Planned Parenthood has raised close to a million dollars in the past several days—far surpassing the $600,000 Komen donates to Planned Parenthood a year (including a $250,000 donation from NYC Mayor Bloomberg) due to an outpouring of public support. Social media played an instrumental role in this reversal with the majority of the public backlash occuring online. While most of the online protests were fair play, hackers did got ahold of the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation’s website for several hours altering its copy (see image to the right) to read: “Help us run over poor women on our way to the bank”—a blunt take on the organization’s decision to pull funding from Planned Parenthood.
2. SOPA Protests Sway Congress: In recent weeks, internet users as well as companies came together to stop SOPA from advancing through Congress, demonstrating the power of the Internet to rally people around an important cause. Online protests- led by Google, Wikipedia and others- illustrated the new power of the internet over DC lobbyists in influencing policy makers. In 1 day we completely reversed the congressional vote.
So, what does this demonstrate?
That the internet is a scary place to not be a part of and that it is the tool for our generation’s protest. This is not the era of hiding behind your computer but of leveraging the connectivity and the amplification power of virality to achieve huge milestones. Social media has been critiqued as a shallow tool of self-promotion, yet in these past 2 weeks, we have seen progress that could not have been accomplished without facebook, twitter and blogging. This gives people- from anyone to the President- a voice and the opportunity to shape the public’s perception of themselves.
The internet has transformed from a place where new identities can be forged to the place where the truth is forced—where individuals are held accountable for their actions because the instant transfer of information and knowledge leads to a transparency never before allowed. And while those who know how to best navigate it may win in the short term, this levels the playing field for the truth.