The Wave for Whales: Making a Splash on Twitter

by chris eaton

January 18, 2011

Wave for Whales

Did you know that there are awards for the best users of Twitter? They’re called The Shorty Awards and nominations have just began. 

I’m really excited for the awards because this year Greenpeace worked with thousands of twitter users to help save whales. If we use the awards to draw attention to that work we could draw even more attention to the struggle to protect some of the oceans most beautiful creatures.

Here’s why I think we have the chance to win the shorty award for the best of green on twitter:

Last summer, thanks to a large coalition of organizations and thousands of activists across the country, the Obama Administration voted to protect the ban on commercial whaling at the International Whaling Commission (IWC). In April, the Obama Administration’s delegation to the IWC decided to support a plan that would lift the ban on commercial whaling.

However, during his campaign, then Senator Obama had promised to work against commercial whaling. We knew if enough public pressure was put on the President himself, he would stick to his promise and make the American delegation change positions.

To this end, Greenpeace launched the Wave for Whales campaign that brought together several major non-profit groups to deliver 1.5 million petition signatures, along with photo’s and artwork from activists all over the country, to the Administration. By June, this pressure worked and the American Delegation changed positions and protected the ban on commercial whaling at the IWC talks!

Social media, particularly twitter, was a huge part of the victory. During the campaign, Greenpeace asked the public to join a massive online wave for whales that would spread the word about the campaign. Thousands joined us on twitter by posting a tweets like this:

Save the Whales! „ø¤º°¨°º¤ø¸„ø¤º°¨°º¤ Join the #WaveforWhales ¸„ø¤º°¨°º¤ RT to keep the wave going!

And that simple message, that anyone and everyone could easily share, was a huge part of getting 1.5 million Americans to ask the President to protect the ban on commercial whaling.

Can you help us celebrate this victory, and draw attention to the continued plight of whales, by nominating Greenpeace USA for the #green Shorty Award? All you have to do is post this tweet:

I nominate @greenpeaceusa for the #green Shorty Award because of their #waveforwhales campaign

The new wave…

Finally, the struggle to save whales is not over. Though the Obama Administration voted to protect the ban on commercial whaling, their delegation to the IWC can do more. Since last week 40,000 people have sent President Obama a message asking him to proactively work to reform the IWC and turn it’s primary task from whale hunting to whale conservation. Can you send him a message too? When thousands of us work together, he listens.

By chris eaton

chris is the Senior Digital Campaigns Manager at Greenpeace USA. He's passionate about building movements and connecting change makers through digital storytelling. Follow him on Twitter at @chr15_eat0n.

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