Evaluate a campaign on change.org

As part of our communication activism and social change unit, we were asked to evaluate a campaign on change.org.

I decided to look at  ‘Stop taxing periods. Period’ campaign as it seemed interesting and has over 200,000 supporters.  The central idea behind the campaign was that essential items should not be taxed. Sanitary towels are essential to a women’s life as without them women would not be able to control and manage menstruation and it will lead to women jeopardising their health. Taxing essential items can reduce accessibility and lead to fewer people affording them, thus reducing access to health care and vital items that will be necessities for decades.

The campaign used various digital forms of communication and raising awareness in the form of a Facebook Page and a Twitter hashtag. The hashtag created was #endtampontax  and the Facebook page is named ‘Stop taxing our periods. Period’  was created to spread the message and provide the latest news and events on the Tampon tax.

The campaign has received huge amounts media attention from news outlets such as the BBC, The Guardian, ITV news and The independent. The campaign also featured in a glamour magazine and The Cosmopolitan. The petition has also received over 200,000 supporters and has gone to parliament and received a treasury response which shows that the raising awareness part of the campaign has been successful. The creators of the campaign decided to demo outside downing street to show how passionate they were about their campaign. They created a Facebook event and 80 women joined. Because of the petitions, hashtags and media coverage,  the treasury responded to the petition and stated that it was not possible to change as it had never been done before. That aspect of the campaign failed as they wanted to make a change and have not done so yet. However, if you were to measure the success on a campaign based on raising awareness then you could argue that they have been successful, as many have got involved using the hashtag mentioned above and with 3,472 likes you could argue that it has raised awareness and that was the main aim to begin with.

The only criticism I have of the campaign is that there is no Youtube video to accompany the campaign. I am not saying every campaign should have a video but it would be nice for people to see the side effects of taxing sanitary towels rather than merely reading about it.

For those interested, the link is provided below:

https://www.change.org/p/george-osborne-stop-taxing-periods-period

Feminista.org

UK Feminista is a non-profit organisation that campaigns to end equalities between men and women. They were founded in 2010 and rapidly became one of the leading voices nationally of feminism and have prompted social change. Additionally, the organisation provides training and resources to activists and groups to aid their campaign and events and offer passionate voices for feminism. 

There have been many advances between men and women, particularly since the 20th century. Giving women the right to vote,  the introduction of new divorce laws which made it easier for women to have a divorce. However,  the organisation still believes that women are unequal in a political, economic and social equality sense.

 The UK Feminista group decided to take a stand and created a Youtube video to raise awareness about the qualms they have on the inequality between men and women.

The group also have a Twitter page with a good followingof 26.1 K followers showing that the page is popular and that they’re tweets are seen by thousands.

The website is very organised and has many tabs named ‘school and colleges’, toolkit, regional training, local groups and resources. The fact that the campaign applies to schools and colleges suggests that the group want to recruit teenagers/young adults suggesting that they want a  long term future for the campaign.

Why is it important?

I believe that UK Feminista is important as they give women a voice and use many digital communication tools such as Twitter, Facebook and email. Additionally, the group provide resources and training for activists to conduct their own campaigns. I think this is very important as activists need a platform and to voice their opinions. I wish other organisations did this too. They provide a 3 day training course to build the confidence and improve the skills needed to make social change within communities. The course is free and there is a bursary provided.

UK Feminista show  statistics of women across the world:

  • In every society on earth, women and girls have less access to resources, opportunities and political power than men.
  • Women perform 66% of the world’s work, produce 50% of the food, earn 10% of the income and own 1% of the property.
  • Just 16 of the world’s 188 directly elected leaders are women, and less than 19% of the world’s MPs are women.

The fact that women perform 66% of the world’s work and only earn 10% of the income is astonishing. Something needs to change and UK Feminista is trying to do that. The fact that there are only 16 leaders that are women shows how much change is required. Additionally, less than 19% of the world’s MPs are women, the statistics shown shows the importance of UK Feministas campaign as they try and create social change.

Hygiene campaign

As part of our communication activism and social change unit, we were asked to evaluate a campaign so her goes: I decided to cover the

I decided to cover the ‘Hand Hygiene’ Campaign, the main aim of the  campaign is  to reduce the spread of germs and decrease the likelihood of infection.  I accessed the website via this link, and could not find how the actual campaign was presented and when it  was launched.  So I searched the internet to find out more information and came across the campaign which was titled, ‘give soap a chance’. The slogan  ‘Give Soap A Chance’ is very memorable, and despite it being a mere four words, it is still effective and catchy. For a campaign to become successful, it needs to be clear and convincing and this campaign certainly did that with the slogan. However, I found the colour choice to be bizarre as black and a light purple is not very appealing and the colours are not associated with germs. Personally, I would have used green as green is often associated with germs. However, the positives about the campaign are  that it is very clear and simple in what it was trying to do, which was to reduce germs and reduce the chances of infections.

The information was accompanied by a video, which was very informative as it showed how to wash your hands properly. On the other hand, if the campaign was used in an educational institute it would have been better to turn the video into a cartoon rather so it applies to children more. However, applying this campaign to many audiences is one of the many reasons why the campaign was a success. The campaign has attracted businesses such as Sainsbury’s and Comet (which has now gone into administration) and children in schools by providing educational packs which meet the national curriculum. The campaign also included a  certificate as a good incentive to encourage children to wash their hands and is a good incentive  reward them for washing their hands. The campaign also applied to Carers and those who have come to visit their families and friends in the hospital.

http://www.wash-hands.com/the_campaign

Spaces of flows

Manuel Castells is a sociologist guru of the internet culture and is one of the most important sociologists today. His main points involve the interplay between social movement and urban space and how individuals come together to create protests for (change).

Castells (2004)’s main part(s) of his sociological theory involved;

Spaces of flows are when there is an increasingly rapid movement of ‘capital investment’. For example, the communication flows at Birley Fields, the Wi-Fi connections, the way in which students are in spaces (University building) to communicate with other individuals.

Spaces of places are  where the individual experience the activities that take place, where they ‘do their thing’ for example, The City of London or Tahrir Square in Egypt where a civic space was chosen on purpose to enable better communication.  The City of London is crossed by flows of capital coming into the space, e,g the investment into the space, but information flows out also.

Castells distinguishes what happens in spaces – What flows in? what flows out of these spaces?

These could be:

  • Information, this involves blogging and e-mails, for example at Birley, lecturers communicate via E-mail, same could also apply to students too.
  • Money/Capital investment
  • People
  • Power
  • Globalisation ( series of flows of information which allows activity to take place in ways it couldn’t before)

Castells touched on spatial information and how it is a fundamental dimension of the overall process of structural change. He quoted ‘space expresses society’. Furthermore, Castells seeks to consider what ‘spaces’ are historically used for in order to determine how the use of space has changed.

Spatial information transformation must be understood in a broader context of social transformation: Space ‘expresses’ society (as opposed to reflecting society).

A good question to ask is ‘how does space relate to urban reorganisation’?

To answer this question, the connection between the local and global space. To make it easier to understand, I will apply this to Univesity; Birley is the connection which is seen as the gateway to the world because university trains world-class professionals. Furthermore, Birley Fields is a bridge between the local and global, as locals are constantly invited in… The Birley building is constructed with Global Flow of information in mind- the fibre optics laid down before building the bricks.

Castells states that both spaces of places of flows are important, as places have been the focus of protest for over 200 years..(Egypt..Los Indignagos, Wall street….)

The introduction of Wi-fi has created information flows that did not exist 20 years ago. You could ask yourself if technology has changed the meaning of being a human being.

When looking at Castell’s (2004) theory, the thing  to consider are:

  • Infrastructure
  • Economic and social factors
  • A social movement perspective
  • Value of communication activism

In relation to my campaign on student loneliness, since the focal point is students the space chosen is Birley fields where the spaces of places can enable communication with other students in the campaign. The wi-fi connections may help as students will be encouraged to use the hashtag #saynottostudentloneliness. Castells believed that everything will be digitalised, so much so that things/information will be filtered to the point where the digital mechanism will relate to just the individual. Furthermore, the collective not individual mind can easily solve problems through connections (internet) thus making it easy as it creates groups easily. I agree with Castell’s in terms of everything becoming digitalized, in relation to my campaign, I have already set up a hashtag which is a digital mechanism and there will be a Youtube video alone with a Facebook Page, showing that campaigns are very much digital now.

Who is Salaam Pax?- Task for portfolio

Salaam Pax is a world-wide famous blogger, who  wanted to send messages to his friend ‘Raeed’. Thus created a blog in his name, naming it ‘Where is Raed’, he wanted to contact his friend from Jordan and they would normally email. However, Raed was not responding. Salaam would use the blog about normal events that would happen in life.  He would also blog things like ‘that girl got married…’. However, during the conflict under the regime in 2003. Pax could have faced serious consequences for what he posted in his blog but still went ahead and documented the events. Under the regime, internet was constantly interrupted and making phone calls was restricted for the citizens in Iraq. However, Pax decided to use a pen and paper to start documenting events in a diary. He did this every day and used his networks  (Blogger in New York) to send his diary over and have it posted on blogger’s platforms. Through doing this, he became one of the most famous bloggers in the world as he received an increasing amount of media attention. He was one of the first people to have a blog that impacted such a wide audience.

Salaam Pax is significant as he gave a real life representation in a blog form of what was happening during the conflict, even though the regime placed limits on internet use. The citizens in Iraq  felt powerless, and Pax gave them a voice. He utilised the tools available to him to provide the true representation of the conflict. From having 20 hits a day, it vastly reached 3000 hits per day showing that his messages were spreading all around the world. Salaam Pax’s bravery must be admired as he could have faced jail time for what he posted and he still went ahead with it.

Link used http://www.theguardian.com/world/2003/sep/09/iraq.biography

What is ®TMark and why is it a significant organisation?

®TMark is a corporation which receives project ideas from internet users  and incorporates it on their site. The original name comes from the term registered trademark. Each project has it’s own dialogue, which tells you about who manage’s the project and the funding projects underneath. For example, ‘The education fund’, many projects have participated on changing the ways education is perceived. ®TMark  is significant as it offers a platform for other organisations/corporations/individuals to  start up their projects, often investors step up to help.

The most significant projects on ®TMark are:

The threat of the millennium 

The Etoy fund

The Archimedes project

Student debt

Campaign 1

Initially, I wanted to use ‘GIMP’ but I felt like I needed more time to get familiar with the software, so I have left it for now. I used publisher instead, and I found a couple of pictures  from that I thought would be suitable for the poster. Such as the debt underneath the boot as it portrays a powerful message, saying that despite the celebrations of graduation, we are still covered in debt. I wanted to use a play on words to make the campaign more effective and catch the attention of students.