From two of our most fiercely moral voices, Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide is a passionate call to arms against our era’s most pervasive human rights violation: the oppression of women and girls in the developing world. With Pulitzer Prize-winning journalists Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn as our guides, we undertake an odyssey through Africa and Asia to meet with extraordinary women struggling there. Among them is a Cambodian teenager sold into sex slavery and an Ethiopian woman who suffered devastating injuries in childbirth.
Drawing on the breadth of their combined reporting experience, Kristof and WuDunn depict our world with anger, sadness, clarity and, ultimately, hope. They show how a little help can transform the lives of women and girls abroad. That Cambodian girl eventually escaped from her brothel and, with assistance from an aid group, built a thriving retail business that supports her family. The Ethiopian woman had her injuries repaired and in time became a surgeon.
Through these stories, Kristof and WuDunn help us see that the key to economic progress lies in unleashing women’s potential.
I tell you this not because I want to get on my soapbox (though if you want to listen, I’m happy to share my two cents!). It’s because I’m extrememly impressed with the social media behind the debut of the Half the Sky documentary, airing on PBS Monday and Tuesday. I hope you’ll set your DVR and watch the two-night event. But, for the purpose of a PR and social media blog like this one, I thought it would be interesting to share a few ways they’re leveraging social media to amplify the message and reach more people:
- Twitter: The documentary airs on PBS tonight. During the show, celebrity advocates Gabrielle Union, America Ferrera, and Olivia Wilde will live-tween along with Kristof and WuDunn. Share your thoughts with the #halfthesky hashtag. Also, on Oct. 2 (Day 2 of the documentary), Olivia Wilde will take over the @PBS Twitter account.
- Reddit: Last Monday, Kristoff participated in a Reddit AMA.
- Spotify: Legendary and emerging songwriters have come together to support the movement. One song a day is available for download for 30 days. Or you can listen to the full playlist on Spotify.
- Tumblr: Incorporating user-generated content, Half the Sky is using Tumblr to encourage people to submit a photo of themselves with a sign that answers this sentence: “Women hold up half the sky _____.”
- Instagram: Half the Sky is posting photos of women they’ve met and using those images to remind followers to tune into PBS for the full show this evening.
This is just a sample of ways PBS and Half the Sky are leveraging social media to maximize the reach of this documentary. We’ve seen how brands and individuals turn to social media to “scale” good. Now, social TV is scaling advocacy and education. I’m looking forward to watching the documentary. If you’ll be tuning in, too, let me know on Twitter and we can have our own virtual viewing party!