Before entering the world of social media, I spent years working in the community sector. Surrounded by people that ‘change the world’ for young people. Despite moving on to a new passion, I’ve never lost that sense of social justice that was instilled in me, through many glorious examples, over the years. When my old passion and new passion meet… Well, that’s just magic.
‘Bully’ is a documentary film that lays bare the experiences of young people, and their families, who are bullied on a daily basis. It also tells of two bullying victims that took their own lives. Yes, this is actually happening.
The content of this film meant it was hit with an R rating by the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA). Reality ain’t so pretty; turns out teenagers use coarse language. Which, of course, meant it was inaccessible to its target audience. How to pull ‘Bully’ out from under the censorship rug and put it in front of the right sets of eyes? I think you know where this is going…
A multi-platform social media campaign ensued, with Twitter being the main stage. On March 27 2012, ‘Anti-Bullying Twitter Tuesday’ was born, generating a phenomenal amount of activity, causing a tidal wave of awareness with a simple tweet; ’13 million kids get bullied every year. Today take a stand with me and @BullyMovie http://bit.ly/wkgZxG #BullyMovie.’ Bang. One million tweets in 24 hours. Now that’s a movement.
The direct intention of the Twitter campaign was not to change the MPAA rating, it was to raise awareness. But awareness breeds action. A petition was led on Change.org, by 17 year old Katy Butler, who called for the ‘Bully’ rating to be lowered to PG-13. Katy’s petition has been supported by more that 500,000 people, including 35 members of Congress and numerous celebrities. As a result, a compromise was reached where the filmmakers removed a couple of expletives and the PG-13 rating was granted by the MPAA, making this important film viewable to those who need to see it most.
Meaningful, authentic content is so important in social media promotion. The ‘Bully’ campaign, which isn’t complex, is a stand-out example of how powerful social media can be. Whether you’re aiming for a cheeky smile or action for a significant cause, make it real and make it human. There are real people waiting at the other end of that post/tweet/blog.
‘Bully’ is released in Australia on 23rd August 2012. Rated M (accessible to younger viewers).
View the trailer here:
If you’re a young person having a tough time with bullying visit the Headspace information page.