‘Save our Scorpions’ – a successful viral campaign

A few weeks ago, I wrote about citizen activism 2.0, highlighting two civil society initiatives taking their campaigns online – one on Eskom load shedding and the other on the Scorpions. I’ve already written about our new load shedding blog, but I wanted to provide an update on how we’ve joined the conversation about the dissolution of the Scorpions (rather than just starting our own).

The online petition to stop the government from disbanding the Scorpions was started by self-proclaimed concerned citizen Hugh Glenister.

His petition details included a quote from DA leader Helen Zille, which is great for the DA. However, after three weeks, he only had a handful of signatures. We had been in touch with Hugh to thank him for using the quote, and we then approached him to assist with marketing it, and last week we introduced a viral email into our network of contacts.

It’s been one of the most successful viral campaigns we’ve done. Within three days, by Friday morning, the number of signatories had increased from less than 50 to 4500. On Monday morning, it was up to about 9000 and by 3pm it was approaching 11000. We’ve since passed the 14000 mark.

What I was particularly pleased by was that some bloggers actually put the viral email up as a post on their blogs, while someone also posted it to the M&G forum. In addition, the very cool ‘Save our Scorpions’ header one of my staff designed for the viral was uploaded to at least one blog. This was then picked up by the Cape Argus who included it at the top of a story on Friday reporting on DA leader Helen Zille’s speech about the Scorpions at Wits University the previous evening.

The thing about our viral is that it isn’t obviously DA. The only reference to us is a link to a document on our website stating the case for retaining the Scorpions, for those wishing to read more about the issue. Many people would like to know more, because we had twice as many unique visits last week as the week before.

We’ll have a more detailed look at the activity on the site as the campaign develops. It will be interesting to look at the effect on the average time spent on the site, and whether we see an increase in our e-newsletter subscriptions as a result (the primary conversion for a non-profit organisation).

On a final note, the creators of Mypetition.co.za, who are the same people trying to get people to ‘Gooi it‘, must be pretty chuffed by our campaign. Their petition site is pretty new, and only has 40 petitions so far. The Scorpions petition accounts for more than 90% of their signatures. That’s a big chunk of their traffic.

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2 Responses to “‘Save our Scorpions’ – a successful viral campaign”


  1. 1 Roberta Brown 22 April 2008 at 10:57 am

    THE FOLLOWING 27 MEMBERS WOULD LIKE TO SEE THE SCORPIONS CONTINUE THEIR GOOD WORK;

    ROBERTA BROWN
    BRANDON BROWN
    BRIAN CLARK
    JULIE CLARK
    JULIE BLAEZER
    CATHY VAN RENSBURG
    GARY DUCKENFIELD
    STUART DUCKENFIELD
    ALEX CLARK
    KIM CLARK
    LEON CLARK
    BRIAN CLARK (2)
    SALLY CLARK
    ANDREW CLARK
    RIA CLARK
    CONNIE MAGCABA
    THERESA MVELASE
    JOSEPH MASIPA
    DAN MASHABA
    SOPHIE RAMOLOTO
    NONHLANHLA NGCOBO
    SYLVIA MHLONGO
    THEMBISILE SIGASA
    BABSY MADONSELA
    XOLISILE DLAMINI
    REBECCA PHASHE
    SINQOBILE MDUNGE


  1. 1 Video: Save Our Scorpions submissions to Parliament « Ant’s World Trackback on 29 July 2008 at 2:32 pm

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