24 Nov The Power of Social Amplification & Its Role in Raising Visibility for Women-Led Business
We launched Globally Spotted to become a one-stop discovery and amplification platform for women-led businesses from the world over. A place where you can not only discover inspiring, smart and innovative businesses, founded and led by women but also raise their profile, amplify their business through your social networks.
We are thrilled to announce that Thunderclap, the world’s first crowdspeaking platform will join Globally Spotted as our major amplifier partner. Thunderclap will help us engage our community and allow us to create viral social media campaigns that will raise visibility for companies featured on Globally Spotted.
And on November 19, to celebrate Women’s Entrepreneurship Day, we kickstarted a social media campaign on Thunderclap for our newly launched platform GloballySpotted.com to help us amplify the 100 female led companies from the world over currently featured on the platform.
David Cascino, Founder & CEO of Thunderclap, talked to us about social advocacy and Thunderclap and why it’s crucial in helping bridge the visibility gap that women face.
David created Thunderclap to help people be heard better together, and oversees all technical and product development. He is the co-founder of AI Capital and the former lead engineer at Knewton, with 15 years of experience building web and financial software.
What is Thunderclap and why did you start it?
Thunderclap is a tool for amplifying a message on social media. The goal is to make it easy for people to join together and simultaneously share a message people so the most number of people can see it. Imagine 1,000 people all shouting the same thing from their rooftop at the same time. It started at a time when I was campaigning against a law that would threaten a free and open internet. Like many people working to oppose it, I was looking for new ways to increase awareness and make an impact. Walking past a rally in NYC one day, I noticed a group of protestors doing something called “the human megaphone” and got the idea of using social media to amplify a message.
The more people you can get to share a message, the more people will be exposed to it through their personal networks. Marketers spends billions of dollars purchasing advertising for this very purpose, to capture a moment of people’s attention. The compelling thing about social media is that regular, everyday people can now influence the ideas that get amplified, not just corporations with huge marketing budgets. The process of making it easy for people to rally around messages and amplify them is the heart of social amplification.
A decade ago, most people passively consumed information from centralized gatekeepers. Whoever controlled the major distribution channels (TV, radio, newspapers) controlled what the world paid attention to. Today, much of that power has shifted into the hands of regular people and I believe most of us are still trying to figure out how to handle this new found power.
While people primarily use social media for entertainment, a sense of connection or even a quick distraction, many are also finding their own voice and using it to build an audience. We’re seeing a rise of a new archetype, the “influencer” who can leverage an audience for political and social change. We’re also seeing people band together into groups that are collectively influential. The net result is a major shift in how we consume and propagate information. It’s fascinating to watch this shift as someone who grew up before it was completely normal to have an always connected supercomputer in everyone’s pocket.
Only 24% of all news stories in the Media worldwide (incl.radio, TV, Newspapers) are focused on women? And even fewer when the topic is the Economy (A mere 5%.) How can social amplification and crowdsourcing be leveraged to help amplify/ and close the visibility gap for female entrepreneurs & women-led enterprises?
Women make up half of all people on the planet. That’s close to 4 billion people. There’s a huge opportunity for women to band together and collectively control much of what the world is paying attention to.The gatekeepers of traditional media are predominantly white males and it’s no surprise they shine the spotlight on people in their own demographic. These gatekeepers are now losing much of their power to control the narrative. The sea change in how information spreads creates a unique opportunity to take the spotlight back. Social amplification is something that the community controls and with almost 4 Billion people, that’s a lot of power.
When the scales are so far tipped in one direction, it’s going to take sustained effort to elevate women-led enterprises. Social amplification doesn’t happen on it’s own, it takes a community of people committed to organizing and supporting each other. That’s why it’s so important to see organizations like Globally Spotted bring the community together to elevate women who are building the future.
It’s hard to predict further than a year into the future without looking like a fool in retrospect. I mean, where are our flying cars and hover boards? All disclaimers aside, I’d wager that traditional media is not going out without a fight.
Large media companies have some distinct advantages. Creating engaging content with high production value is still pretty expensive and traditional media will probably hold onto that edge for some time. They still also have significant legacy distribution channels. While TV, radio, and newspapers are losing steam, they still pack a punch within certain demographics.
The fact that people can now exert influence over what the world is paying attention to is where things get exciting. It’s unclear how traditional media will compete when distribution channels are increasingly powered by human interest instead of ad dollars. My hope is that there will always be platforms where self organizing communities decide what information is valuable and worthy of our attention. My biggest concern is that social networks are starting to consolidate and we risk replacing one gatekeeper with a new one. The risk of being silenced by powerful interests is something we all must fight to protect.
We’re grateful to have hosted close to 50,000 campaigns since launching Thunderclap and it’s tough to single one out as being the most powerful. The largest campaign we’ve run so far had over 900,000 participants and dominated the tech news cycle for weeks. The organizer of the campaign was a design school student from the Netherlands who had the idea for a phone that you could continuously upgrade instead of discarding every 2 years. There is a huge environmental problem with e-waste and this was a great way to mitigate it. In retrospect, the organizer had (1) a compelling concept with a noble mission (2) a really simple message people could understand (“Let’s show the world we want a phone worth keeping”) and (3) a video that outlined the concept with great storytelling. By capturing people’s imagination and giving them an easy way to bring the idea to life, people signed up in droves.
What’s next for Thunderclap? (Maybe you can tell us a bit about your new Discovery feature here)
We’re taking a cue from crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter and starting to build out more features for the vibrant community on Thunderclap. The first step in that direction is a new discover section where you can browse campaigns based on your interests. We’re particularly excited to partner with Globally Spotted and highlight campaigns that showcase women and the businesses they are leading.
Does raising more visibility for women-led businesses matter?
Businesses are by far the most influential entities in existence, more so than governments or civic institutions. Businesses create jobs and products that impact the world. Businesses advertise and influence what we pay attention to. In the US and many countries, businesses almost exclusively control the government through lobbying and campaign finance. For better and sometimes worse, businesses are the focal point of power across the globe. It’s imperative that we balance out the power dynamic and move towards a world where a proportional number of businesses are led by women. Raising visibility is a key component in shifting that dynamic.