Rather than brush off the Ice Bucket Challenge as slacktivism, tempting though it may be, the sum of the thousands of videos uploaded and millions of dollars donated should applauded, discussed, and dissected so that other charitable organizations can enjoy similar success through social storytelling.
Two exceptionally complex stories have been unfolding right in front of us. At home, a series of seemingly unconnected events in different entertainment industries collided and (re)launched a broad, sustained discussion on the portrayal of and violence against women. Abroad, the elevation of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) from terrorist talking point to legitimate threat has driven a coalition of countries, lead by the United States, back to war in the Middle East. Though both stories have been building for some time, it was only after graphic depictions of the violence were revealed to the world that conversation exploded, and action was taken
The very fibre of this endeavor is stamped on this site. “Circuits, Wires, and Words.” It sounds simple because it is. With Matt and I are separated by 520 miles, different cities, and different countries, The Campfire Project was born, planned, and finally shipped, via an internet connection. Despite of the distance, things have come together beautifully.
This single tweet is so many things. Beautiful, heartfelt, nostalgic and poignant. With three words and a still frame from a film more than two decades old, the Academy published much more than a digital goodbye. It is a viral love letter, wrought with emotion and delivered with speed to over 800,000 followers. As pointed out by Caitlin Dewey in this article for The Washington Post, tens of millions more re-shared the tweet, amplifying its reach on a global scale.
And therein lies the problem.
It started with a flicker, a flash. A hidden URL tucked away at the end of a trailer for an upcoming video game pointed eagle-eyed viewers to the hacked website of an amateur beekeeper in San Francisco. Interspersed between the broken pixels and strange computer jargon was an ominous message: "Countdown to Wide Awake and Physical." The timer was quickly approaching zero.