An artivist working independently from his living room has made a non-aligned, #TogetherWeWin Facebook art meme with the message "VOTE HUMAN" go viral to over 270,000 Facebook news feeds. This includes crowdfunded reach to many thousands of people well outside the notorious usual Facebook left-of-centre "bubble". He is now seeking further sponsorship to turn 270,000 views into millions of views, with mass reach to people who DON'T normally see anti-Tory posts on their news feeds. [Sponsorship link...]
The covering text of the Facebook post highlights the issue of sociopathy amongst Tory front-bench MPs, quoting and linking to a grass-roots blog post. It starts: "A sociopath is defined as someone who is utterly selfish, has no empathy with anyone else and will ruthlessly exploit other's weaknesses for their own benefit. There is no lie they will not tell, no despicable action they won't take to get what they want and, when caught out, will move heaven and earth to distance themselves from the consequences of what they've done." [Read more...]
Over 2,000 Facebook users have shared the post, which is still growing at the time of writing. Nearly 22,000 Facebook users have clicked somewhere on the post.
The artivist-organiser, who is currently choosing to remain anonymous claiming "#GE17 is about the spontaneous eruption of a leaderless mass social movement to #StopTheTories", now seeks further sponsorship to turn 270,000 views into millions of views.
The Facebook publishing has innovatively deployed crowdfunding to "sponsor" the post onto the news feeds of many thousands outside the notorious left-wing "echo chamber", or bubble, on Facebook. These means making thousands of Tory supporters see the post, plus thousands of undecided voters, possible non-voters, and people who need to remember to register to vote.
These Facebook users, who probably tend to have very different lives to most people reading this, don't typically "organically" see any of the same kind of Facebook content that you do.
The 270,000 views so far have been achieved with a post budget of only £250. Every £3 donated directly serves the article to a further 600 or so Facebook users, randomly except that location is targeted to those living in the all-important marginal constituencies. It also serves to increase the "viral" effect of the post, as over 700 of the 2000 'shares' of the post have come directly from users seeing it as a "sponsored post".
The #ChangeTheDebate campaign - harnessing the power of social media
"Q", the freelance artivist behind the project, is a Green Party member (no longer active), non-tribalist, volunteering his time. He says: "This election isn't about differences between left-of-centre parties. It's all about #StopTheTories. #TogetherWeWin". He is now seeking further sponsorship, in order to turn 260,000 views into millions of views.
In the past, social media has been criticised as having only limited real impact on elections and referendums. When you routinely share Facebook posts related to politics, your 'share' typically only reaches people who already agree with you. This has been dubbed the 'echo chamber'. Facebook's sophisticated 'news feed display algorithms' make this effect stronger.
However, Facebook will allow a 'page' to reach any kind of Facebook user you want to reach in large numbers - if you pay Facebook for "sponsored posts". This is basically paid advertising, the kind we all now see occasionally as we scroll through our news feeds.
Why is this so important? The progressive parties face a hugely unfair media landcape in this election. The media are mostly unwilling to #GiveCorbynAFairChance, often hysterical about the SNP, and largely ignore the Greens. The Tory newspapers and their BBC echo are insisting that #GE17 is all about Brexit, "strong and stable government", and one-eyed reporting of internal debates in the Labour Party.
Q says: "If voters are allowed to continue thinking of the election in these terms, the Tories will win big. Those who "frame" an election, win an election.
"Yet what about if we harness the massive power of social media, to get the nation thinking and talking about the issues and ideas the Tories and their friends don't want people to think and talk about? What if guerilla Facebook activism becomes the story of the election? What if people start turning off their TVs and finding out for themselves what's really going on?"
Other "sponsor a viral anti-Tory Facebook post" campaigns also live now:
The linked Stop the Tories website is currently running four different sponsorship campaigns:
Another meme baldly tells the stark truth of #ToryBritain: "IF YOU VOTE CONSERVATIVE ON 8th JUNE, YOU ARE VOTING TO STARVE CHILDREN". This has also gone viral to an even bigger audience, to 440,000 Facebook news feeds and still growing. This has The covering text of this Facebook post summarises a recent survey of primary school teachers which reported "heartbreaking" increases in numbers of poor children going hungry. Further sponsorship is also invited for this post, to turn 440,000 views into millions. [Donate now...]
The third campaign directly sponsors the already-viral blog article by disability activist Fiona Robertson, "VOTING TORY IN #GE17 IS A VOTE TO KILL PEOPLE LIKE ME, AND YOU NEED TO KNOW WHY", adding the most eye-catching extracts as covering text with the hashtag #VotingToryKillsDisabledPeople. Already seen by 65,000 people, sponsorship is invited to massively and quickly boost its reach yet further. [Donate now...]
A fourth campaign boosts an eye-catching #RegisterToVote cartoon and covering information, targeted at increasing even further the 100,000 young people getting registered to vote since the election announcement. There is growing excitement over the potential for a large increase in the size of the young vote giving Theresa May a nasty surprise! [Donate now...]