Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Web Secret #159: It Gets Better

Every now and then, we need to be reminded that social media can be a force for good.

One shining example: the "It Gets Better Project."

In September 2010, after a rash of gay teen suicides, author Dan Savage created a YouTube video with his partner Terry to give hope to LGBT youth facing harassment.

This is the video that started it all:

It took only two months for the "It Gets Better Project" (TM) to turn into a worldwide movement, inspiring over 10,000 user-created videos viewed over 35 million times.

Some of the submissions came from celebrities, politicians and major companies, including President Barack Obama, Anne Hathaway, Matthew Morrison of "Glee", Tim Gunn, Ellen DeGeneres, Suze Orman, the staffs of Google, Facebook, Pixar, and many more.

Many of the most poignant and powerful entries came from ordinary people.

The site is now a place where LGBT youth can view videos that show how love and happiness can be a reality in their future. It’s a place where straight allies can visit and support their friends and family members. Everyone is invited to make and post an inspirational short video.

It Gets Better has spawned a book, a national TV ad, as well as supporting a number of charities to help prevent suicide and promote tolerance.

This is the Google Chrome national TV ad:

In its essence, "It Gets Better" is a meme. All great memes have one thing in common: a simple idea that turns into something unimaginably powerful.

The web is what you make of it.

One video. Two months. A revolution.

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