We look at three examples of what we consider people powered news.
At NewsWhip, we believe in the potential of ‘People Powered News’.
We think that social media allows people to choose stories that interest them like never before. Our site is unique in that the stories are solely chosen by their ‘Social Velocity‘, or how fast they’re spreading on Facebook and Twitter. We have no editorial guidelines or personal opinion, the stories are chosen entirely by the billion plus users of those two networks alone.
As we recently illustrated with our ‘people powered front pages‘, the top stories in the media don’t always match up with the most shared stories on social media. Some stories never get covered in the media because of vested interests but due to the will of the people, these stories find their voice on social media and spread their influence.
Here are some of our favourite examples.
In the Spring of 2013, the Turkish government wanted to tear down Gezi Park in Istanbul, one of the few remaining green spaces in the city, to build a new shopping mall. Outraged, citizens took to the streets and displayed their anger at the corruption involved.
The Gezi Park protests grew to encapsulate a movement of dissatisfaction with the government, gathering more than 100,000 people into opposition. During this moment of national importance when the world was watching, the Turkish media did not show the news on the protests and the political reaction but instead decided to show a penguin documentary.
The events inspired one Turk to start a ‘Standing Man’ protest, where he stood completely still and didn’t move for 8 hours. This act of passive resistance was the most talked about and shared news story in Turkey while the media didn’t touch it.
The online furore led to the Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan denouncing Twitter as “a menace to society” and claiming that “the best lies of society can be found here”.
Nomorepage3.org was created in order to start a petition to challenge page 3 of the Sun. Founder Lucy-Anne Holmes realised that Page 3 was sending a message to women everywhere that beauty will be praised over than sporting prowess and hard work. The campaign couldn’t tell its story through print media, but took to social media, where people started talking and sharing about this galling inequality for women.
The numbers grew from one motivated woman to a team of 20 people to 54,000 followers on social media. This method of bubbling up the story over a period of time translated into 190,000 people (to date) signing the petition, suddenly people started paying attention and the People Powered News worked.
A debate was ignited and pieces in the Guardian, Telegraph and the Huffington Post showed passion as they stirred up the conversation. Television interviews, panel debates on Sky News and the political support swelled up in ground support and forced the Sun to face the problem.
The campaign is now recognised worldwide and while the Sun may still continue page 3, the fight continues. None of this would have been possible though without using the vehicle of social media to spread the message.
In March 2012, Iran-Israel relations were at a particular low. The two countries had been constantly sparring and had reached a point where all diplomatic dialogue had ended. Quotes like “The Iranian nation is standing for its cause and that is the full annihilation of Israel” (Iranian Military chief of staff) and “Iran is the biggest supporter of terrorism.” (Israel ambassador to US) only served to heighten the hostility between the nations.