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iRemember: Internet ‘silence’ on Poppy Day

Royal British Legion wants silence extended to social networks. Picture: Getty

Royal British Legion wants silence extended to social networks. Picture: Getty

  • by STEPHEN MCGINTY
 

THE babble and din of Twitter is set to echo to the soundof silence. The Royal British
Legion is launching a campaign to extend Remembrance Sunday’s two-minute silence to the online community.

Thousands of Facebook and Twitter users will be encouraged to observe the silence using a new social media tool. The charity is the first in the UK to employ Thunderclap, an American invention that allows users to issue a message simultaneously across social media channels.

The Royal British Legion is asking people to go to its
website, www.britishlegion.org.uk, and click on the link to the Two Minute Silence Thunderclap page. They can show their support by clicking to authorise their Twitter and Facebook
accounts to send the tweet or message that reads “I’ll be remembering the fallen at 11 o’clock #2MinuteSilence #LestWeForget” at 9am on Sunday 11 November.

When they sign up, their Twitter or Facebook feed will
automatically display the message “I won’t forget to Remember on 11.11.11 Will you? #2MinuteSilence”. It is hoped that, through retweets and online “liking” and sharing of the message it will reach many more of the UK’s ten million Twitter and 33 million Facebook users.

Helen Hill, head of remembrance at the charity, said: “We hope to create the largest ever show of online remembrance by using the communicative power of social media to remind millions of Britons that they have a very personal opportunity to honour the men and women who paid the ultimate sacrifice.”

Thunderclap is the first “crowdspeaking” platform that allows a charity or cause to produce a single message that can be mass-shared simultaneously.

The act of observing a two-minute silence began in 1919 following the Armistice at 11am on 11 November, 1918 at the end of the First World War. More than three-quarters of the British population are expected to
observe the silence, and many believe people should also refrain from tweeting or updating their Facebook pages during those two minutes.

Yesterday, Oliver Mann, the gadget correspondent for the British Forces News, said: “I think this is an absolutely brilliant idea. I think the whole point of wearing a poppy is to broadcast to the outside world that you believe in the two-minute silence and reflecting on what happened during the wars.

“If you wear a poppy on your jacket you shouldn’t be having a conversation on a social network during the two-minute silence.”

However, Graham Jones, a psychologist who specialises in online behaviour, believes it would be impossible to “silence” or ensure there is no activity across the internet for two minutes. He said: “Unfortunately, the internet is mostly automated and there will be so many hundreds of thousands of different activities happening that they couldn’t expect to switch them off for those two minutes.”

HOW IT WORKS

BY CLICKING on to the Thunderclap page on the Royal British Legion’s website, an individual is granting Thunderclap permission to access their personal Facebook and Twitter feed and put out a specific message at 9am on Remembrance Sunday.

With the anticipated surge in people posting the #lestweforget message, the subject will become one of the main trends on Twitter, maximising the number of people who are aware of it.

 

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