If Kony 2012 has taught us anything, it’s that social-network users love to get behind a good cause. But what’s the platform to get the word out?
When it comes to the tragedy of Trayvon Martin, the Florida teen who was fatally shot by his neighborhood watch captain last month, Pinterest is providing a strong counter to Geraldo Riviera’s recent claim that wearing a hoodie made Martin look out of the ordinary and therefore “suspicious.”
Think Progress’s Pinterest page is leading the way with its Hoodies for Trayvon pinboard, which has 466 followers to date. At a glance, online activists can get an overview of the movement, where dozens of notable supporters don hoodies to raise awareness of the shooting. A Pinterest search for “Trayvon” brings up hundreds of similar pins.
Pinterest helps activists hone in on that visual point by demonstrating how harmless hoodies ought to be.
This isn’t the first time Pinterest, or Think Progress’s Pinterest, have been used for activism. When the cause is a visual one, supporters on Pinterest let pictures say a thousand words. When Think Progress wanted to make a statement about Romney’s riches, instead of writing about his campaign budget, it pinned photos of his extravagant lodgings.
Jennifer Stauss Windrum is another activist who uses Pinterest as her preferred platform. After her mother was diagnosed with lung cancer—after a cigarette-free life—she wanted to inform people that lung cancer can affect anyone. Her pinboard, Anyone Can Get Lung Cancer, readily shows a diverse range of victim’s faces.
Visual campaigns, like the one for Martin, lose their effect on text-based networks.
On Twitter, director Spike Lee is using his 250,000-strong follower base to share photos of supporters in hoodies. On Tumblr, users are likewise posting photos of themselves in hoodies, one at a time. However, since neither platform is fully visual, supporters have to do a lot of clicking and searching to make their own assessments.
If activists want to show potential supporters how an event has become a movement, there’s no more powerful medium at the moment than Pinterest.
Photo via Trayvon Martin Movement