A Look at the “It Gets Better” project

On the web randomness happens. A word. An image. A website. One day it could be just like everything else on the net and then almost instantly it becomes something big (anyone remember 3 wolf moon?).  In this randomness it happens perhaps less often  that something with meaning and that does  good takes off .That’s why I found it really interesting to see a video labelled “It gets better”  get as much interest as it has.

The Background: After a series of recent youth suicides related to gay bullying, famous (infamous?) sex columnist  Dan Savage known for his straight talking, no holds barred sex advice column “Savage Love”   posted  with his partner the  video  “ It Gets Better”  which can be found below:

As it stands his video has received close to 1,000,000 visits from over a 4 week period. From  a viral video  standpoint this may be a little  slow in growth but results from this video alone only tell half the story of its success. Growing off this video is the countless response videos from average people and a multitude of celebrities. With over 2,640 video’s created against this video ( according to YouTube search using the term “it gets better project”) and over 7.78 Million video views from the first 40 videos ( excluding the original) this has received some serious attention. Most notably one video has even eclipsed the original receiving more than 2.1 million as of this writing (below):

What does all of this mean? That this original video has inspired action and in a way a ripple effect. Unlike say a fail blog video or any of the other top viewed videos that you’ll see on the front page of YouTube this video caused users to further spread this message through the creation of their own content. This works to further spread the video to not only a larger audience but a much more diverse one than the original as its then seen by these users’ pre-established viewership through channel subscriptions and regular channel visits .

Measuring further success: If I had to measure the full success of this impromptu campaign ( and had full access to any data I wanted) I would do the following:

  • Measure the web and telephone traffic of the Trevor project over the long term ( a few months). As this group recieved a large amount of mention in follow up videos it would be a strong measure of awareness if there was a significant and long lasting increase in the use of the services from this organization
  • Measure the increase in creation and use of teen support services. While teenage suicide was a major driver in this campaign there are too many variables that could get in the way to see if these numbers have improved. But looking at whether there is an increase in support for teens and whether its actually being used would be a stronger sign that the message of `It gets better` resonated with its intended audience .

Do you have a question or comment ? Feel free to reach me at@kevrichard or kevin@kevrichard.com

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