Innovative campaign aims to get out the youth vote in Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, and Washington
by Shaun Knittel -
SGN Associate Editor
The Four 2012, a new social media campaign on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, YouTube, Google Plus, and other sites in support of marriage equality in the four states where it is on the ballot this November, launched this week.
'It's Facebook and Twitter meets Rock the Vote for marriage equality,' said Brian Ellner, one of the initiative's founders and a longtime LGBT rights advocate who helped spearhead the successful push for New York's marriage law last year. 'We want to energize young pro-equality voters in the Google age.'
The online effort, a collaboration among leaders in social media and LGBT rights, is focused on creating and distributing cutting-edge, highly sharable social media content to excite pro-equality Americans nationwide - especially voters in Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, and Washington state.
The campaign will work with the best minds in social media and advertising to produce, and help others produce, exciting and original digital content, such as videos, graphics, photographs, and other art, from leading creative artists and new media influentials.
CAMPAIGN WITH AN EDGE
'The idea behind The Four is to promote marriage equality in the most creative and exciting ways and to remind supporters through social media sharing - especially young people - to get out and vote,' said Jeremy Heimans, a social innovation and Internet strategy leader who is the CEO of Purpose, an initiative partner and co-founder.
Ryan Davis, a co-founder of The Four, added: 'The concept is to allow easy sharing and to syndicate this material over popular social networks, including Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, Instagram, Tumblr, and Pinterest. We will also use smart paid media to promote our most popular posts, create a network of influencers to amplify the content, and produce new content from some of the hottest Internet stars.'
Davis is executive director of social innovation at Blue State Digital, a leading digital media firm that managed Barack Obama's 2008 online campaign.
'We want to extend and expand the marriage equality brand by adding excitement and edge - to galvanize young base voters to take action and to vote,' said Andre Banks, co-founder and executive director of initiative partner AllOut.org.
The Four has already released a new original video, entitled 'Momentum,' featuring the hit song 'We Are Young' from the indie-pop group Fun. With just over 60 days to go before the election, the site will feature new content every day. It will include original documentary videos commissioned from New Left Media (Chase Whiteside), which will focus on the specific campaigns in each of the four states.
The campaign is encouraging artists, videographers, writers, and anybody with ideas to create short videos, short stories, and/or graphic art. 'Nothing would make us happier than to have a lot of people create and contribute content expressing in their own personal ways why marriage equality is important to them,' said Ellner.
The site will also feature and amplify the best independently created marriage equality digital content from national and state coalition partners, working specifically with Mainers United for Marriage, Marylanders for Marriage Equality, Minnesotans United for All Families, and Washington United for Marriage - as well as nationally, with equality movement leaders like Freedom to Marry and the Human Rights Campaign.
YOUTH TURNOUT CRITICAL
On November 6, Maine will be voting on whether to legalize same-sex marriage, Maryland and Washington voters will decide whether to confirm or reject marriage equality laws enacted by their legislatures, and Minnesota will vote on a proposed state constitutional amendment to ban marriage equality. Polls show the pro-equality side ahead in each of these states - but in the past, being ahead in the polls has not resulted in winning on Election Day. Virtually all polls have shown young people favor marriage equality by greater margins than older voters - hence the need for an increased effort to get out the youth vote.
The Four 2012 is organized as a project of Purpose Action, Inc., a 501(c)(4) started by Heimans. He and Banks are co-founders of AllOut.org, an online social movement of over a million members working globally to build a world where every person can live freely and embrace who they are.
The campaign has a budget of $200,000 and hopes to help raise additional funds to be used directly by the state campaigns. Funding for The Four 2012 was made possible by a generous founding contribution from Jason Goldberg, founder of Fab - the marketplace for everyday design - and from contributions by other supporters.
For more information, visit the campaign's website, www.TheFour2012.com.
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