Viral campaigning

Viral campaigning means spreading a message from person to person, like a virus. Messages forwarded in this way on mobile phones can work very effectively and quickly to inform and mobilise people. This technique is cheap for the organisation that sets the message in motion, and an important or powerful message can make a great deal of impact when spread virally.

In China, members of the public were mobilised by SMS to demonstrate against the building of a chemical plant in Xiamen. A message warning of the dangers of the plant was forwarded to an estimated 1 million people. The call to action read: “For our children and grandchildren, act! Participate among 10,000 people, June 1 at 8am, opposite the municipal government building! Hand tie yellow ribbons! SMS all your Xiamen friends!“