In 2012, The Peace Innovation lab sought out entrepreneurial solutions for reducing negative engagement and increasing positive engagement across a defined conflict boundary. Proposed solutions needed to have the following attributes:
- a targeted behavior that can be shaped and measured by the application of an existing or development of a new social or mobile technology
- the targeted behavior needs to address an identified conflict boundary (some examples include nationality, geography, religion, politics, race, gender, class, ethnicity, language, and so on)
- a way of using ubiquitous sensor networks to passively measure and document the Minimum Acceptable Peaceful Interactions (MAPIs) created.
- defined, measurable outcomes–i.e. “To increase the rate of “Like” clicking on Facebook between Iranians and Israelis by 100,000 in the 3 week period between between May 1 and May 21.”
The resulting citizen diplomacy projects were Israel Loves Iran and Romancing the Border.
Israel Loves Iran
Launched by an Israeli couple in 2012, the Israel Loves Iran campaign targeted Iranian Facebook groups with messages of love and peace.
The campaign spanned a series of copycat campaigns across Facebook including Israel Loves Palestine an Palestine Loves Israel.
Numerous online campaigns have been run to encourage both Facebook friendships between Israelis, Iranians, Palestinians and other groups as well as face to face coffees, dinners and other social engagements.
In contrast to 60’s era anti-war efforts, Israel Loves Iran adopted an emergent “Cupid’s Arrow” strategy that leveraged the affordances of social media – ‘friending’, ‘likes’ and sharing to foster positive engagement.
Since 2012, the Israel loves Iran Citizen Diplomacy Campaign has captured fouryears of data on a series of discrete image and video campaigns to foster friending behavior and gestures of positive engagement both online and in real life.
Israel Loves Iran Indiegogo Crowfunding Campaign
Israel Loves Iran moved from online connection to real world presence when it raised funds to put its messaging out during the 2013 Israel election cycle.
One of the highlights of 2012 was the opportunity to get to know Ronny Edry, the catalyst behind the Israel Loves Iran peace campaign on Facebook.
Ronny started an online movement through a series of tiny steps – small behaviors that are so easily triggered and mirrored on Facebook. Right now, just sit back and listen to his TED talk.
Romancing the Border
An initiative by Indian & Pakistani University Students around the World & backed by Peace Innovation Lab at Stanford, Romancing The Border encourages Indians and Pakistanis to disseminate messages of love across the border through social media.
Similar in approach to Israel Loves Iran, Romancing the Border targeted Pakistani and Indian youth to promote positive engagement.
In 2015, #ProfileforPeace hashtag campaign was launched as a counter-narrative response to hostile interactions between Pakistani and Indian politicians.
Measuring Peace Using Social Media
Facebook Insights allows us to view engagement episodes across difference boundaries over:
We can see network effects as friends directly or indirectly propagate comments, images and sentiments across their social graphs.
By observing ‘Citizen diplomacy efforts in the wild’ we can learn what works for which audience.