The Impact of Social Media on The Robin Hood Tax Initiative

The Impact of Social Media on The Robin Hood Tax Initiative

In case you are not familiar with the Robin Hood Tax initiative formally launched around 9 February in the UK, let me confirm straight away that even though the timing is remarkable (leading to more exposure… or dilution?), there is no link to Ridley Scott’s long awaited epic movie with Russell Crowe (from Maximus to Robin Hood, what a strech…).

The only link to the film industry is the infamous video supporting the launch of the campaign directed by Richard Curtis with the brilliant Bill Nighy.RobinHoodTax

How it works: “the Robin Hood Tax is a tiny tax on bankers that would raise billions to tackle poverty and climate change, at home and abroad.”

Social Media Made it Possible
The campaign relies heavily on social media with a presence on youtube,facebooktwitterflickr and a blog. That is tremendously appealing to me, hence my desire to cover it on the Visible Banking blog.

Just a few years back, when people weren’t used to watch videos on YouTube or stay in touch with their friends on Facebook, it would have been very challenging to get so much visibility and so much traction so quickly.  More importantly, it would have been near impossible to sustain the high level of engagement required to potentially succeed.

Mixed Feelings & Heated Conversations
This initiative has already caused a lot of stir and quite a lot of negative comments not only from journalists like Ed West @ The DailyTelegraph, but also on the Robin Hood Tax own online assets like their facebook page with people like Joseph the student (more on my video from 15Feb), orcomments on their flagship YouTube video. Great example of the power of the community. And if you add Goldman Sachs which unsuccessfully tried to undermine the campaign… The Robin Hood Tax became a proper case study for financial institutions: the Social Media machine in action.

Social Media Updates
I plan to keep you updated on the progress of the ‘Robin Hood Tax’ online. A bit like in my Visible Banking Twitter Watch series, I will keep track of their growth rate and the level of engagement especially on Twitter and Facebook.

Stats – 07 March 010
* YouTube: 322,724 views (about 11.5k views per day since creation) / 994 4* ratings / 662 text comments
* Twitter: 2,786 followers (about 20 new followers per day btw 15Feb-07Mar)
* Facebook: 130,302 fans (about 1.1k new fans per day btw 15Feb-07Mar) / 166 photos / 3 events
* FlickR: 58 pictures
* Twibbon app: 1,277 tweeps adopted the green mask on their profile picture
* Newsletter: 33,515 subscribers
* Poll: 65,886 YES / 6468 NO

About a month after launch, the Robin Hood Tax campaign still manages to sustain a good amount of interest on YouTube, and a high level of activity on Facebook which once more confirms its formidable reach in countries such as the US or the UK. On the other hand, the growth of their follower base on twitter remains modest with a mere 20 new followers on average per day.

Stats – 23 February 2010
* YouTube: 288,621 views (+67%) / about 20k views per day since creation / 913 4* ratings / 621 text comments (+51%)
* Twitter: 2,535 followers (+19%) / about 56 new followers per day btw 15-23 Feb
* Facebook: 117,127 fans (+76%) / 123 photos / 2 events
* FlickR: 52 pictures
* Twibbon app: 1,231 tweeps adopted the green mask on their profile picture

Another week, but the same outstanding growth rate for the RHT Team on facebook with an average of about 6350 new fans per day for the last 8 days! On the other hand, there is not much traction on the pictures / ugc level, it looks like very few supporters take the time to shoot then upload their pictures on FlickR or Facebook. RHT Team, it is time to organize a competition! (cf recommendation #4 below)

Stats – 15 February 2010
* YouTube: 172,744 views / about 25k views per day since creation / 686 4* ratings / 409 text comments
* Twitter: 2123 followers / about 270 new follower per day btw 8-15 Feb
* Facebook: 66,342 fans / 86 fan photos / Most active discussion with 84 posts “The RHT is Stupid…”
* FlickR: 51 pictures

Video Comments
I invite you to watch the first video I shot about the #RHT on 15 February 2010 where I share my initial comments and suggestions.


My comments and suggestions

1. Share the green mask template to download in pdf
2. Shame we can’t search twitter for the arrow #~~>
3. Create a list of MPs on twitter (blog post & a twitter list)
4. Organize photo contest on Facebook with the chance to be on your marketing materials
5. Invite people to share on Facebook their suggestions to tackle poverty and climate change issues
6. Watch my video to check my best recommendation to date

Call to Action
I listed 7 ways to participate so far: (15 February 2010)
* Subscribe to the RHT Newsletter
* Watch the Bill Nighy video
* Follow RHT on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube
* Wear a green mask and share your pictures online
* Put up a poster on your window or in the street
* Twitter – Merry MP: fire an arrow to your MP
* Twitter – Mask you profile

Fighting Poverty & Climate Change – Charities Involved
What I love the most with this initiative is the long list of charities and other organizations focused on making the world a better place involved. I hope it will lead to increased media coverage and eventually more support from not only banks, but also governments, corporations, and individuals.

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