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When it comes to innovation, look to the non-profits. When you're short of marketing megabucks, necessity can be the mother of some pretty interesting inventions. Consider the Obama campaign, or PETA.org's fascinating forays into viral marketing.
Amnesty International UK has just announced a new initiative that takes into account a factor that's huge in email marketing, but little used in social media: timing. At 1:10 p.m. on Friday, they're asking supporters to drop a coordinated social media bomb to raise awareness about violence against women in the UK.
Why Friday, why 1:10, you ask? Relevance. Friday March 6 is International Womens Day, and one in ten is the ratio of women in Britain who are victims of rape or violence.
At the appointed hour, supporters are encouraged to spread the message on Facebook, MySpace and Twitter, but not willy-nilly. The assault is very well coordinated with the message. Users are encouraged to change their avatar to ones designed for the initiative, and available for download. And at 1:10 p.m., supporters will update their status to the same message: "Each year, 1 in 10 women in Britain experience rape or other violence http://www.oneten.org.uk"
Twitter users are asked to tweet the same message at the appointed time, and are even encouraged to use geekier tools such as TweetLater to ensue a massive, coordinated attack.
Amnesty is offering other social tools and petitions for those interested in supporting the cause. But this coordination of social media into a single, massive, precision-timed event is probably a first.
It's going to be interesting to see what happens on Friday.