September 30, 2015
A Thunderclap is an online service that allows individuals and groups to generate awareness and action around an event through social media. Users “donate” their social media accounts (Facebook, Twitter, and/or Tumblr) to send out a message on a particular date around a particular topic. Just think of it as an online flash mob! The video below explains more about this concept.
Thunderclaps to support environmental and education causes are not new. The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) successfully organized a Thunderclap for the 2014 Climate Change Conference, COP20/CMP, with a social reach of 3.5 million people. The organization 100Kin10 gathered almost 13 million social media voices for their campaign America Needs More STEM Teachers. Last year, the EPA had a Thunderclap On Earth Day, #ActOnClimate! that had 180% support.
Here, I’m including a shameless plug to get people to support the Pennsylvania Earth Science Teachers Association (PAESTA), who would like to send out a Thunderclap during Earth Science Week to raise awareness of and respect towards K-12 teachers and Earth science teaching in Pennsylvania. But in order for the Thunderclap to go out on social media, the campaign needs 100 supports to sign on and “donate” their social media voice. If you have a Facebook, Twitter, and/or Tumblr account, it just takes a few quick clicks to add your support!
If a Thunderclap does not receive enough supporters (and the minimum that can be set is 100), then the Thunderclap does not get sent out. This unfortunately happened to AGU, when they set up a Thunderclap for #ScienceIsEssential. AGU was hoping to “send out a social media post on September 17, 2015 encouraging your friends and followers to submit a letter to their representative urging Congress to maintain a strong focus on Earth and space science research and development. With your help, Earth and space science research and development can continue to save and improve lives across the nation.” This AGU campaign fell short of the necessary 100 supporters, and the message was not shared. It is a shame that we as a community did not come together to to disseminate this important message to friends and colleagues through social media.
So after you support the Earth Science Week from PAESTA (please do!), why not support other Thunderclaps that have deadlines coming up, such as the Greater London National Park City Initiative to make London the world’s first National Park City? Or organize your own Thunderclap, to support Earth science?