Earth Day Goes Social

Yesterday’s 40th anniversary of Earth Day saw many people around the world do their part for the environment, but what was particularly interesting was watching the impact the Earth Day Network made on social networks. Leveraging Facebook, Twitter, Youtube and other elements of the social web, Earth Day reached tens of millions of people who might not otherwise have participated in the yearly day of green.

Cynics may claim that Earth Day is a feel-good rather than a do-good event, created to absolve the guilt of a society who disregards the planet the other 364 days of the year – but if the social media push of the Earth Day Network is any indication, the goal is not to simply “turn on” environmentalism for 24 hours but to use Earth Day as a launching platform for an on-going awareness campaign.

One of the most effective ways the Earth Day Network reached out to digital environmentalists – if going by the numbers – was through its Billion Acts of Green Facebook campaign. Partnering with Proctor and Gamble, this Facebook page encourages users to submit their “act of green” to show how individual contributions to environmental protection can create mass global benefits for the earth. With over 31 million action pledges, this initiative definitely showcases the positive effects that an awareness campaign can have on mobilizing people for a cause.

The Earth Day Network also has an active Twitter account, @earthdaynetwork, that was used yesterday – and continues to be used – to spread the word about environmental initiatives on and off the web. With hourly updates linking to Earth Day videos, campaigns, and other initiatives, the organization really tried to connect with followers and show them how to go beyond just a single act and really make a difference year-long. Although there are under 5,000 followers as of today, this use of Twitter shows promise for future Earth Day campaigns and other causes looking for a way to spread awareness quickly and effectively.

And as we reported yesterday, Youtube Video Volunteers made a huge impact on Earth Day. Their channel called for video submissions about climate change, and went from a few hundred views to over 8 million channel views on Earth Day alone when the winning submissions were unveiled.

With 40 years of history, Earth Day is a part of our society as we become increasingly concerned with our impacts on the environment. By using social media to continue to push the message of climate change and environmentally-friendly action taken in response, the Earth Day Network and concerned eco-netizens were able to reach out to millions on Earth Day, and will hopefully be able to keep the message going well into the future.