Savvy activists use digital marketing wherever possible to communicate, gain exposure, and spark change, all with growing success. They use social media networks, email campaigns, landing pages, and traditional websites. Non-profit organizations with a compelling message need these marketing tools just as much as major international corporations.
The next step in the evolution of activism through tech has got to be the incorporation of VR. Experiencing an issue first hand will undoubtedly become a powerful tool for crusaders working diligently to right wrongs and battle injustice.
A huge challenge non-profits face is that their issues are not part of daily life for so many people. The average city dweller in the developed world can shut out imagery and media when an undesirable message appears. Change the channel, and you’ll forget easily.
An experience, on the other hand … that’s much harder to forget. Once you’ve been somewhere and seen something in front of your eyes, the impact can be irreversible. We go to great lengths to have vacation and travel experiences for this reason.
For causes, VR could literally change everything. Walking through an obliterated urban war zone will be possible without mortal peril. Visiting an impoverished developing world village with starving children and emaciated cattle will have an impact that flat screen images can never achieve.
How would you feel about the food you eat if you could tour an industrial farm? How would you change the way you use fossil fuels if you could gaze around and across the decay and devastation of a post climate change future?
Imagine a #HeforShe campaign wherein a male user experiences the intense screaming of a verbal assault or the invasive degradation of sexual harassment. The SPCA could bring potential donors into a crowded animal shelter, or more heartbreaking, a puppy mill.
Remember, none of the above scenarios would be a YouTube video tucked safely behind a screen. These would be immersive experiences surrounding and affecting the user.
In an era where ever more disturbing imagery is required to shake a complacent population into action and evolution, the capacity for VR to evoke emotion will not be ignored.
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