Thunderclap: How ‘Crowdspeaking’ Creates Successful Media Campaigns

Trending topics have power. One hashtag used by millions of people can give a company a larger, more diverse audience to leverage for their product or message. Social media marketers can use online tools, like Thunderclap, to enable thousands of people to post at the same time, harnessing the power of a trending topic.

Thunderclap is a platform that combines crowdsourcing and social media, creating “crowdspeaking.” It allows anyone, from companies like Levi’s and the MLB, and individuals, to mass-share one message across a network.

One Tweet, for example, is boosted at the the same time from many different users’ accounts who have joined a campaign through Thunderclap. This creates a “flash-mob” effect, making your hashtag or Tweet a trending topic on Twitter.

More than 12 billion Thunderclap messages have been seen by people across 238 countries and territories,” according to Thunderclap’s website. “It’s the world’s first crowdspeaking platform, and over 7 million people have donated their social reach for ideas and causes that matter.”

David Cascino, CEO and creator of Thunderclap, said in an interview with MediaFile that the platform has the same mechanics of a crowdfunding campaign, but “cuts above the noise” to get a message out.

“Thunderclap is like a giant megaphone. Media is people powered; there are no more gatekeepers like TV and radio,” said Cascino. “The internet can tap into people-powered media and share trends; Thunderclap is indicative of those trends.”

He started the company based on a chance-encounter during the Occupy Wall Street movement. Cascino was walking through Zuccotti Park in New York City where protesters were gathered around benches when he saw one protester on a bench share her words with another protester on a different bench. Eventually, that message spread to all the benches and her voice was amplified throughout the park. Cascino said that was the inspiration to kick start Thunderclap five years ago.

According to a case study by Thunderclap, Dutch designer Dave Hakkens created the second largest Thunderclap so far, reaching 381,758,127 million users on social media with his campaign Phonebloks. Hakkens wanted to see if consumers and people would get excited about his invention; a smartphone made of detachable blocks, so if one part broke it could be easily replaced (instead of an entire phone becoming incapacitated with one flaw). The campaign garnered 979,206 supporters; and after the social media launch, Hakkens partnered with Motorola to bring Phonebloks to the market.

An example of Phonebloks from Hakkens’ campaign on Thunderclap, depicting the look of the phone and its detachable parts (Thunderclap).

The most successful Thunderclap to date is World Humanitarian Day of 2012, which had a social reach of 1,029,763,492 billion people. The United Nations, Beyoncé and many more partnered to celebrate and promote the message “I WAS HERE;” the message denoted that whoever posted it would do something good, somewhere, for someone else in honor of World Humanitarian Day.

Below is a YouTube video of Beyoncé singing in support of the “I WAS HERE” movement for World Humanitarian Day 2012, demonstrating the campaign’s high level of support among even celebrities. 

The World Humanitarian Day campaign was a huge success by promoting their message to over one billion people on August 19, 2012.

So far, Thunderclap has run over 55,000 individual campaigns. Cascino attributes its success to the breadth and diversity of campaigns on the platform.

“Depending on the event, there will be an uptick in campaigns. Thunderclap is centered around moments in time, and there are ups and downs depending on what’s happening in the world,” Cascino said.
Thunderclap is a reflection of social media at large, Cascino said, but magnified or intensified by the support of the users themselves. Any message, any hashtag, or any product can be boosted into the public eye with enough Thunderclap supporters. This opens up ample opportunity for businesses, entrepreneurs and fundraisers alike to take advantage of trending topics with the platform. Thunderclap is a virtual megaphone available to anyone with something to share; a social media amplifier.

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