If you’re on Facebook, Twitter or really any social network, you probably saw a lot of the red and pink equal sign pictured above. If you’re wondering what it is, it’s a sign promoted by the Human Rights Campaign, advocating for equal rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (GLBT) people. The Supreme Court is meeting this week in Washington to discuss the issue of gay marriage, Proposition 8, and the Defense of Marriage Act, and the people on both sides of the issue are coming out strong to support their beliefs. It’s strange to see social media suddenly become such a fertile ground for political discourse, but there are many lessons to learn for the smart SEO and SEM company.
The Human Rights Campaign equal logo has taken the social media world by storm. It doesn’t matter how you feel about the issue of gay marriage, as a marketer, you have to admire the success of the movement’s visibility. As of this writing, the photo has several different incarnations totaling over 50,000 likes, 100,000 shares, and piles of comments…and that’s just on the Human Rights Campaign‘s own Facebook page. The image has been posted as the profile picture for many users (check your friends list) and it has received even more likes and shares from these personal pages.
The success of this campaign of awareness is largely based around the symbol these chose. It’s simple but bold, stark but powerful. The equal sign is enough to get people asking what it’s all about, especially when they see it on 10 separate friends’ profiles. The bright red background of the image makes it stand out in feeds and chats. It’s not easy to lose the symbol in the shuffle, and every time another person adopts it, it becomes that much more visible, that much more powerful.
Will it make a difference?
Some people say it won’t, that nothing can be changed by changing your profile picture on social media, but those people are wrong, plain and simple. It’s spreading awareness, it’s showing solidarity, and it’s forcing people to talk about the issue openly. Those were the goals of the campaign and they’ve accomplished them. Obviously they can’t change the mind of the Supreme Court, but they sure can put the issue in front of people.
Whether you’re for gay marriage or against it, you can’t deny that the Human Rights Movement truly succeeded here. The opposition hasn’t answered back yet, but you can be sure they will. Maybe with a giant not-equal sign? Maybe with a grayscale flag?
Only time will tell.