Every now and then, someone publishes content online that “goes viral”, attracting thousands, even millions of hits. In recent years, this phenomenon has increased with social media platforms that allow their users to share and discuss content amongst each other. One of the earliest forms of social media, the blog, is still active today and is still finding increasingly clever ways to attract internet traffic.

One of these initiatives, the Blog Action Day, uses hashtags and social sharing to promote a single day of the year in mid-October when all participating blogs discuss a predetermined topic. Not only does the social sharing of this event attract more attention towards blogs, but the multitude of blogs discussing the same topic on the same day attracts enormous attention to that topic. This year, the hashtags #BAD2013, #Oct16 and #HumanRights are being used to promote a discussion about human rights.

As of yesterday, over 1,700 blogs from 124 countries writing in 26 languages were registered to discuss human rights. Among them is Phil’s blog; our commentary is just as much about the communications success that is Blog Action Day as it is about human rights.

Sadly, no one can say that human rights are universally respected today, despite the massive efforts put forward historically to prevent abuses. The civil war in Syria continues to kill thousands of civilians and exile ever more Syrians into the neighbouring countries. Whether the solution will be diplomatic or military is unclear, but what is clear is that something must be done by the international community before the country is torn apart. In Ecuador, governmental critics are being imprisoned, fined heavily and silenced by defamation laws. Similarly, in Russia, homosexuals are still prohibited from promoting their sexual orientation openly. In Moscow, gay pride parades have been banned for 100 years starting in June 2012. In light of these and other horrible practices worldwide, it is more important now than ever to speak out for an end to these abuses.

That is why we are participating in Blog Action Day. We hope that such a well-orchestrated initiative will cause massive reactions on the social web and bring us one step closer to ending human right abuses. The Internet couldn’t make a more valuable contribution to humanity.  

Written by Henri Brillon, Communications Agent @Phil