Deleted As A Friend

It isn’t often that Social Media campaigns are really imaginative, especially when it comes to spreading a serious message. For the most part, many campaigns still try to imitate the traditional media campaigns, similar to the many websites that tried to replicate printed media in the 90s.
Take the example of World AIDS day. There are various campaigns out there trying to get social network users to display red ribbons on their profile pages, exchange their profile pictures for the day or similar. All of these are really nice, and a great show of support, but they are ultimately nothing more than a virtual display of something many people would do in real life, i.e. an attempt to replicate real life in the virtual world rather than working with the unique possibilities of online world.
Luckily though the Swiss AIDS Federation has thought a little harder this year and developed an application that harnesses the powers of social networking, and really takes into account the unique environment in which social networking operates. As many good campaigns, the campaign is actually pretty simple. All it does is, it posts a post to your friends homepage that xyz and XX other friends have deleted you as a friend.

swiss1By doing this, it really plays on the feelings of being “defriended” (and I guess I’m not the only one who has secretly spend way too long trying to figure out who is the person that just made my friend count go down). This impression may be even worsened by having several of the messages on your homepage, ranging from being deleted by your best school mate to partner to friends to casual acquaintances…. No wonder anyone receiving such messages may feel totally anxious!

Luckily, in a unique twist to normal facebook policy, the campaign actually let’s you see who and why you have been defriended. Once you follow the link, you will get an explanation that in reality, of course, the person has not defriended you – but rather that this is how it feels being stigmatised or discriminated against (and loosing friends) for nothing more than HIV-status alone. A very short shock then, but a really thought provoking campaign – even if all is back to normal after a few minutes of shock, which of course is not the case in real a discrimination scenario. Well done to the Swiss AIDS Federation of building something so uniquely suited to facebook – and if you’d like to spread to word, or erm, delete a few friends, then check out:


P.S. If you have examples of great applications that harness the powers of web 2.0 effectively to create social change, why not share them via the comment function?

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