Connected: Good to go

This year Facebook turned 10 years old. In that time it has amassed over 1.28 billion users across the world.

cats and dogsBy Matthew O'Driscoll

It's predicted that Facebook will play a big part in this year’s general election.

Figures from Adcorp in 2013 showed that Facebook was being used by about 50 percent of the New Zealand population (2,267,560 people to be exact) and that number is still growing.

Not only will political parties be pushing their messages, policies and candidates in front of you while you browse the latest updates from your Limmy and The Gregory Brothers, but other organisations dedicated to social change will be vocal in your timeline too.

That includes organisations like the PSA. Unions have always been agents for social change. Pay equity, domestic violence, holidays, and sick pay are all issues that unions have bought to the forefront.

This year, unions across New Zealand have committed to one core action: to encourage their members to get out and vote. Here are some of the things you can do to help get the message out on Facebook to encourage your colleagues, friends, and whanau to vote.


Change your profile picture.

It’s a simple act but very effective when large numbers of people commit to doing the same.

Last year millions of people changed their profile picture to a red background with a white equals sign. Why? In support of marriage equality. This grassroots movement, initiated by the Human Rights Campaign in the US, resulted in 2.7 million profile pictures being changed in one week. This figure is impressive in itself but when you consider the reach of each of those people, you are talking about an audience of billions being exposed to the symbol and the marriage equality campaign.


Set up your own Facebook group or page for an issue you are passionate about.

Finding a supply of blood and blood donors in times of emergency is difficult in most parts of the world, let alone in trauma centres in Israel. NATAL in Israel used Facebook to tackle this problem by setting up groups for each blood type. Over 4,000 Israelis joined the groups and now any time the Israeli Red Cross has an urgent request for blood, NATAL can has a pool of people to turn to in an instance


Upload a video of your child, dog or cat talking about their reasons for voting.

According to Waggener Edstrom, animals, children and health and wellness are the most shared and talked about causes on Facebook. But don’t pin your hopes on a cute child or animal if you want people to take action. Further research from Waggener Edstrom shows that 56 percent of social media users will take action on behalf of organisation if there’s a compelling story. So make sure the words you put in to Fido’s mouth are worthy.


As you can see, you don’t have to be a huge corporation with an infinite marketing budget to get active on Facebook. As long as you’ve got a passion, some mates, a bit of time and a few ideas you are good to go.

The fact that you have a starting base of 360,000 union members across New Zealand should help too.



Limmy: A Scottish comedian and prolific user of social media.

The Gregory Brothers: American musicians famous for Songify the News.

Waggener Edstrom: A communications organisation that tracks trends, insights, and audience behavior, moments of influence and action across various industries.

Adcorp: An advertising agency.

NATAL: a trauma centre for victims of terror and violence in Israel.


This article is from the June 2014 issue of the PSA Journal. You can read back issues of the Journal by clicking here.