Sunday, February 5, 2012

Super Bowl Social

The Komen controversy spills into the Super Bowl today, with nonprofit tech activists launching a #takebackthepink Twitter campaign they say is intended to "redirect all of the emotion" that arose this past week against the Susan G. Komen for the Cure nonprofit -- and redirect it "in a positive way, back into the fight to end cancer." [According to Nielsen, the percentage of women watching the Super Bowl between the ages of 18 and 54 has increased by 8 percent since 2002.]

While #takebackthepink is targeting anyone who is tracking their social sites while they're watching the game, organizers hope especially to reach and encourage donors who dropped their support of Komen this week and persuade them to back other breast cancer organizations -- rather than walk away from the cause altogether. "This is an effort to make sure that Komen's donors don't walk away from breast cancer -- that we help harness their passion to give and volunteer -- even if that means participating with other organizations," organizers said in eblasts last night to their followers.

#takebackthepink organizers include popular social media consultants and bloggers Beth Kanter, Allison Fine and Lucy Bernholz -- all critics of Komen's move to politicize the issue of breast cancer with its decision, reversed Friday, to cut funds to Planned Parenthood for breast cancer screenings because of PP's support for abortion. The women say their #takebackthepink campaign is not an attack on Komen but rather a push to promote the importance of women's health, the importance of organizational transparency and "to keep politics out of women's health."

"We are interested in leading people to the many paths that will bring an eradication of cancer while educating on the importance of transparency and integrity," they say on their wiki promoting the effort. They also are hoping activists will flood Komen's #supercure Super Bowl hashtag during the game with retweets that include the #takebackthepink hashtag. The idea, according to the group's eblast, is to "'blitz the hashtag' and engage millions of football fans for women's health."

Back in July, Komen entered a partnership between the NFL's Indiana Super Bowl Host Committee and the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Tissue Bank at Indiana University's Simon Cancer Center, and according to an item on Komen's Web site last July announcing that partnership, Komen will be promoting the #supercure hashtag during today's game "to merge the fight against breast cancer with one of the largest and widely watched events in the country." After last week's brouhaha, Komen -- the marketing juggernaut and creator of the famous pink ribbon campaign -- also will be using #supercure to rebuild some of the support it lost this week in the controversy.

Will the two Twitter campaigns help expand last week's controversy or serve as a way to help ease the social swarming against Komen? Post your own thoughts here, and watch this space for updates.

For more on the story, see Friday's post here, When Communities Revolt. See also New York Times writer Jennifer Preston's blog post about Komen's reversal Friday and Kanter's "Komen Can Kiss My Mammagram" pinboard on Pinterest, which is tracking and archiving some of the anti-Komen backlash.

-- Marcia Stepanek

[Illustration, with permission, by Matthew Hollister for The New Yorker]

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