What Mattered in 2015

Here at ShareProgress, we’re in the advocacy business. Well, sort of. Our tool helps organizations like Planned Parenthood, Greenpeace, the AFL-CIO (and plenty more!) test out the language that gets their supporters to share advocacy campaigns or other online actions. That means that we have access to a huge database of every campaign that our clients made this past year, how many people shared it, and what medium (Facebook, Twitter, or email) they used to share it.

I thought it would be pretty cool to take a look at the campaigns that got folks to click that share button this past year. So I queried our database to pull a list of the most shared campaigns on Facebook, Twitter, and email, and I took a look to see if there were any trends, or unexpected findings, or just plain interesting tidbits to share. Here’s what I found.

The Big Stuff

I put the ten most-shared campaigns on Facebook, Twitter, and email into five overarching categories. I’d like to call that umbrella of categories What We Gave a Shit About in 2015. What it lacks in elegance, it makes up for in accuracy. Here are the categories, along with the corresponding campaign titles, and the organizations who created them:
 
The environment

  • “Stop the DARK Act” — Environmental Working Group
  • “Kick Big Polluters out of Climate Policy” — Daily Kos
  • “Don’t mine sacred Native American land in Arizona.” — CREDO Action
  • “The Monsanto Protection Act is back — and worse than before” — CREDO Action
  • “Sign the Petition: Ban Fracking on Public Lands!” — Daily Kos
  • “Stand up to bottled water industry and support our parks!” — Daily Kos
  • “Tell Congress To Give Native Americans Back Their Sacred Land!” — CREDO Action

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Gun violence

  • “‘Thoughts and prayers or real action to stop gun violence?” — CREDO Action

 
Corporate responsibility

  • “NFL Commissioner Goodell must justify the NFL’s ‘non-profit’ status before Congress” — CREDO Action
  • “Sign the petition: Tell corporations to pay their fair share” — Daily Kos
  • “Demand President Obama Require Federal Contractors Disclose their Political Spending” — Daily Kos


 
Movement for Black Lives

  • “Gov. Hogan: Stop militarizing police and secure #Justice4FreddieGray”  — ColorOfChange.org
  • “The Confederate flag is down in South Carolina: Leave it down and drop all charges against Bree Newsome” — ColorOfChange.org
  • “Justice for Tamir Rice” — ColorOfChange.org
  • “Prosecute Officer Fields” — ColorOfChange.org

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Income inequality

  • “Cancel All Student Debt” — Daily Kos
  • “Tell Speaker Boehner and House Republicans: No cuts to Social Security benefits.” — CREDO Action
  • “Co-sponsor the People’s Budget” — Daily Kos
  • “Tell John Boehner: Don’t Eliminate the Estate Tax” — Daily Kos

 
There were also two campaigns that didn’t exactly fit into any of those categories. I went ahead and created a separate category for those two:
 
Annoying shit that we want to get rid of

  • “End Robocalls” — Consumers Union
  • “MSNBC and CNN: Stop promoting Donald Trump.” — CREDO Action

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The Impact of Organizational Reach

Maybe you noticed that the list above featured a whole lot of CREDO, Daily Kos, and ColorOfChange. I noticed that, too. All three of those organizations have a huge reach, so even their less successful campaigns are often shared much more than the most successful campaign of a much smaller organization. CREDO and the Daily Kos both create campaigns about pretty much every progressive cause under the sun, which means that their most successful campaigns are solid indicators of what people actually care about.

ColorOfChange focuses specifically on racial justice–for example, over 40,000 people shared ColorOfChange’s campaign demanding justice for Sandra Bland. ColorOfChange had similarly large reach with other campaigns calling to fire the police officers responsible for the deaths of unarmed citizens. ColorOfChange did incredible, critically important work this year to direct digital pressure at people in power perpetuating racism and violence, work that was representative of the massive power of the Movement for Black Lives this year.

A range of different organizations use ShareProgress, and those organizations have huge variations in list size and social media followings. It’s no surprise that the very top of our list was large organizations–but the specific campaigns are representative of the most shared, most salient campaigns across the board.

The Medium Matters

“Tell Speaker Boehner and House Republicans: No cuts to Social Security benefits.” That campaign title was our 7th most-shared campaign on Facebook. But on Twitter, it was only our 28th-most shared campaign. Over half of Americans who are 65 years old or older are Facebook users. But only 10 percent of the 65+ set use Twitter. Equally interesting–two of the top ten most-shared Twitter campaigns were related to racial justice (“Gov. Hogan: Stop militarizing police and secure #Justice4FreddieGray” and “The Confederate flag is down in South Carolina: Leave it down and drop all charges against Bree Newsome”). Neither of those campaigns hit the top ten on Facebook.

Thanks!

That was what mattered and what we learned this year–all of it thanks to our amazing clients, who are advocating for progressive causes all year long. We’re excited to get to share it with you, and we’re even more excited to see what inspires folks to act in 2016.

Written By

Anna Schmitz

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