To most, the Oscars mean the biggest night in Hollywood, but to Ric O’Barry it meant a way to further his cause. Ric O’Barry is featured in the documentary film, The Cove. The movie is about the slaughter of dolphins in Taiji, Japan, where over 20,000 dolphins are killed a year. Last Sunday, it won Best Documentary at the Oscars. When the filmmakers went on stage to accept their award, O’Barry held up a sign saying “Text Dolphin to 44144”. The cameras quickly cut away from the stage for the rest of the speech. You can see video here-
Many people wondered what happens when you text 44144. Was their a donation involved? No, the text was simply to sign up for more information. The text message campaign was set up by TakePart.com. On TakePart.com, users can sign petitions for The Cove, Mercury in the water, become a fan of The Cove on Facebook, and get more information about the text message campaign.
So, does the campaign sound familiar? I believe that it is riding on the heels of the Red Cross’s Haiti text message campaign. After the earthquake in Haiti, the Red Cross started a text message campaign that allowed users to donate $10 by simply texting Haiti to 90999. As of January 14, 2010, the campaign had raised more than $4 million.
Social media, such as Twitter, has been a great tool in publicizing the Red Cross’s campaign. In fact, that was how I first heard about it. I also believe that we will see more text message campaigns that are very similar to this one. I have recently heard the word “Slacktivism”, combining the words slacker and activism. There are many examples of this in today’s life- rubber bracelets, ribbon magnets, Facebook groups, online petitions, and now text message donations.