What is it about?
Testimony: Equality on Trial is a social media campaign by the courage campaign institute aimed at raising awareness about the Perry v. Schwarzenegger trial, also known as the “Proposition 8 Trial”.
In 2008, Proposition 8 passed in California denying the LGBT community the right to marry. Two couples wanted to challenge the proposition, and fight it in court, and that’s the Proposition 8 trial that started in January and was supposed to be the first trial to be broadcasted on Youtube but the defense challenged the decision and won the right to keep the footage of the trial from the public record. That decision was very disappointing to the supporters of same sex marriage and they tried some creative ways to bring awareness to the trial and Testimony is one of those ways.
About the campaign
Testimony raises awareness for the prop 8 trial in several ways. They chose to take a different approach that appropriate to the channel they are using and tailored it in a manner that would encourage interaction and be a building block for a support base in the future.
The Testimony blog, the prop8trial tracker, has been active in covering the trial ever since it went to court. The site provided live-blogging of the trial, legal analysis for what happened in court and other relevant news that would interest the blog audience. The blog was flourishing with comments, testimonials, and debate about the issue of marriage and was a hot bed of ideas for what to do to raise awareness of the trial. One of those ideas is reenacting the trial which the testimony campaign picked up and ran with.
The re-enactment of the trial helps bring it to a wider audience and hence it became part of the Testimony Campaign’s objectives to encourage people to re-enact the prop 8 trial and upload it to the web. To kick start the drive, a bunch of activists, actors and directors got together to re-enact various parts of the trial and posted it on the campaign’s web presence including Youtube and it proved to be a very interesting way to encourage interaction.
- The Twitter account is the glue that helps bring all the other channels together; it provides links to latest news and article, call to action alerts and brief status updates helping everyone to stay informed.
Facebook: 33,900+ Fans
Twitter: 820+ Followers
While the numbers seem to be modest, the totality of the effort is what counts. The website has received more than 2 million hits and got over 30,000 comments ever since it was launched in January and it certainly will be a good building block in the courage campaign’s bigger goal of establishing a 1 million person strong network in California.
Why did it do what it did?
This is definitely a very polarizing topic, and one that every person has a strong opinion so it is refreshing how the campaign attempted to cool down the arguments and present them in a different manner and focus on presenting the stories of individuals and families rather than discussing the issue on the grounds of ideals.
- Humanize the issue. Talking in terms of ideals and politics tends to be cold and detached and denies people the opportunity of relating to the issue, so when you open the space for people affected by the issue to speak for themselves, it gives a chance for a warm bond to form between people rather than just the issues.
- Tell your story. Statistics can convinces mathematicians and other left brained individuals but a story will win over a lot more people since it is a form that people are used to getting their information from on daily bases. Using stories makes the issue more tangible to the audience.
What do you think of the way that the Courage Campaign are running their presence? What can they do to gain more exposure for their cause? Let us hear your thoughts.