The 20th anniversary of World Water Day, celebrated on 22nd March, provides a good example of the use of social media in campaigning.
This annual UN event draws attention to the global pressures on fresh water and how co-operation can help overcome challenges.
Everyone from UN organisations to teen celebrities are now involved with social media becoming increasingly important. So we’ve examined which channels were used and shared our favourite campaigns.
World Water Day in numbers
- There were 136,540 Tweets from 125,821 individuals in the 30 days leading up to World Water Day
- Approximately 497 million people had the opportunity to see messages on Twitter about #worldwaterday
- The top 5 organisations on Twitter involved over this period were:
- @ WaterAidUK
- Justin Bieber was responsible for the most retweeted tweet with 23,558 people sharing his tweet, giving it a potential audience of an estimated 117 million.
- A look at the day’s conversation themes underline how this helped to get the message out to the masses.
The best of the web
Campaigning organisations used a variety of digital tactics to raise the profile of World Water Day. Here are some of our favourites.
- The Children’s Radio Foundation produced a radio workshop – Reflections on Access to Water. A tale from the residents of Khayelitsha in the Western Cape about the everyday practicalities of living with limited water. The storytellers are young people and they share what matters to them most.
- @onedrop made an impact by hosting a celebrity spectacular Cirque du Soleil event in Las Vegas which was also broadcast online for pay per view audiences. The social media buzz around @onedrop is proof that well planned events can make a splash on and offline.
- The publicity shows the importance of consistency about #tags – something other campaigns could copy. Over 99% of the conversation for World Water Day took place under the #worldwaterday hashtag.
- This World Water Risk atlas brings the issue to life, allowing us through their data visualisation to look into the future.
- And finally, a picture can still be worth a thousand words as these photographs from China underline the impact of rapid industrialisation on the environment.
Overall, the campaigners for World Water Day have shown just what can be achieved by focused and imaginative use of digital media. Their challenge now is to maintain this heightened awareness over the coming months and to use it to influence decision-makers.