Last week I wrote about the fund raisers that popped up for Officer Slager after shooting Scott Walker.
Today I heard good news from my friends at Color Change. The fundraising platforms, Indiegogo, has taken down all the fundraisers in support of Michael Slager. (Disclosure, I’ve been an adviser of Color of Change.)
They, along with others, had already convinced Gofundme to remove this kind of fundraiser. Now Color of Change has asked the CEO of Indiegogo to change their policy, and to remove these kinds of fundraisers immediately.
Social media is great for informing business of how their products or services are being used or misused. (Here was a San Francisco Chronicle story Joe Garofoli wrote about how we used social media to inform advertisers of brand-damaging right wing talk, Rush Limbaugh ad fight shows power of social media.)
This CoC campaign is a smart use of social media power. It not only addressed the instant news issue, but extended thanks to the business after they acted and suggested they make policy changes so their tools can’t be used in this brand-damaging fashion in the future.
Most companies won’t come out and say they believe in racism. They will dance around the issue trying to say how they are “neutral” in order to keep all options open to make money. But when you point out the clear disconnect between what they say about themselves and how their product/brand is being used, they often make changes to be “more aligned with their own values.”
These kind of campaigns give companies an opportunity to change and an excuse why they are changing. One of the things I’ve found is that sometimes people in businesses need examples from others on how to act and how to talk about what they are doing and why.
These “opportunity and excuse” steps are important because they help with the goal of positive change and getting people on your side.
Telling Indiegogo “I’m not going to use your product because you let people create campaigns for Michael Slager.” as in a boycott, throws down the gantlet on your end and throws up the walls on the other. Some boycotts are hard to measure, especially if the people doing the boycotting have never used the product before. It is also quite possible there could be more people who start using the product because they are allowing the campaign to go up and stay up.
That is why I try to be clear that the Spocko Method is not a boycott. It educates and alerts people in companies how their product or brand is being used or misused and suggests that the company decide if that is in line with their values, so they can choose.
Social media efforts have been used to do some amazing things. It has also been used to harass, threaten and destroy people’s reputations and their lives.
When social media is used as a straight forward weapon, it opens the door to misunderstandings and blowback stories. Truly vile people LOVE stories where innocents were victims so they can put themselves in the same category.
As many of your know, I’m a big fan of super hero stories and movies. The character Peter Parker had a powerful personal experience that made him understand what happens when he misused his personal power. Uncle Ben explaining that, “With great power comes great responsibility.” isn’t just a motto to Spiderman, it defines him and explains his actions.
Tony Stark sees the personal impact of his powerful tools and is challenged to be and do more with them by Professor Ho Yinsen in a cave in Afghanistan.
Encouraging, convincing and thanking people for doing the right thing takes time and intelligence. A quick, angry tweet might feel good for 2 seconds, but using social media power in a responsible fashion can lead to a longer good change.