Clicktivist victory: Facebook unfriends coal

Yesterday Facebook announced that it would move away from coal and move to fill their energy needs with renewables. This follows an almost two-year campaign on the part of Greenpeace (full disclosure: I worked on this campaign, so I’m a tad biased). By shifting towards renewables, and by virtue of being a huge consumer of energy, Facebook will help create a clear demand for green energy.

Greenpeace used a variety of tactics, always with an eye online, to sway Facebook – and let me just say that campaigning against Facebook on Facebook provides it own set of challenges. Over the course of the campaign more than 700,000 people joined Greenpeace in calling for Facebook to make this shift. There were blimps flown, world records set, photo (com)petitions, and videos shared all in an attempt to create a greener Facebook.

One thing I would like to point out (that I had no hand in) is the timeline that Greenpeace has created (inspired by the newly released Facebook Timelines?) for the campaign. I think it’s a fantastic idea that should be repeated. In long running campaigns it can be very difficult to maintain supporter engagement; they often flit back and forth from completely gung-ho to disengaged and everywhere in between. The timeline helps to combat this fluctuating engagement issue in 3 ways:

  1. it shows how much work went into the campaign and reminds the supporters of why they need you.
  2. it reminds the supporters of what they did. They can go back and remember that 6 months ago they furiously spread the message in an attempt to win a t-shirt. This helps them take ownership of the victory and bolsters morale for ongoing and future campaigns.
  3. The call to action at the end – in this case targeting Microsoft, Apple, and Twitter – reminds them that there’s still work to be done, but because it’s followed by a victory that hurdle seems a little lower and momentum is, hopefully, maintained.

Congratulations to everyone involved in the campaign and, just because I can, here’s my favourite video from the campaign: