I never imagined I would come to Italy and become involved in a social campaign. Nor did I expect to have the opportunity to interact with so many influential, creative people who are willing to make a difference in this world.
Femo Factory is a surf and skateboard company founded by Andrea Masini and Giulia Bartolucci. They are passionate about their craft and the organizations they collaborate with, but while they claim surfing is their first love, they are also driven to break the stereotype of surfers as people who are apathetic towards world issues. Together they are determined to show the world that many surfers are socially and politically aware, and eager to take action and help those in need. This summer, my Social Media class took on a project to help Femo Factory as they teamed up with the United Nations to promote their campaign, Surfing Syria–an effort to support the estimated 4 million refugees that have been displaced by the Syrian Civil War. The campaign revolves around the sale of a limited edition t-shirt designed specifically for the cause. For every t-shirt sold a generous portion of the proceeds is donated to support the refugees.
My part in the project included working with my class on a promotion plan to push Femo Factory’s message across social media networks. I composed Facebook, Twitter, and blog posts and developed creative ideas for Instagram pictures, captions, and hashtags. I collected data on popular hashtags and trending topics that would increase exposure of the campaign, and I researched influential voices that had potential to spread the word. These people included political figures, to popular talk show hosts like Ellen DeGeneres, to personal friends who have a voice within their local surf and skate communities. Throughout this research I learned that though many of my immediate friends aren’t surfers, there is often at least one person within each of my friends’ networks who is. Tapping into these niches of people was much easier than expected.
The campaign is now in full swing and the limited edition T-shirt is available until July 11th. For those interested in getting involved visit Femo Factory’s blog here: http://femofactory.tumblr.com. I am grateful to have met Julia and Andrea, and I am proud to say I contributed to their cause. I have no doubt Surfing Syria will be a success. There are too many passionate and dedicated people backing the campaign for it not to be.