A group of marketing and veteran gay rights activists is hoping to rally the youth vote in the four states where gay marriage will be on the ballot this November through a social media campaign. Maine, Minnesota, Maryland, and Washington all address the legality of gay marriage through ballot questions.
The Four 2012 campaign hopes to be the updated version of "Rock the Vote," by offering shareable, pro-gay-marriage content in the form of images, videos, and other graphics via social networks, such as Facebook, Tumblr, YouTube, and Twitter.
Four 2012 co-founder Brian Ellner, who also oversaw the Campaign for New York Marriage, said the goal is to "engage and excite youths and make sure they come and vote," as well as raise "national dollars for the effort."
The organization's website includes links to donate to each state's pro-gay-marriage campaign: Mainers United for Marriage, Marylanders for Marriage Equality, Minnesotans United for All Families, and Washington United for Marriage.
The public is encouraged to submit content, such as a Bruce Springsteen image (above) that was created by Scott Wooledge of Daily Kos and a video from YouTube star Michael Buckley. The images of other pro-gay-marriage celebrities such as Lady Gaga and Pink have also featured in previous content.
Four 2012 is also producing its own social content, including a series of state-specific videos about gay couples, such as the one it released Tuesday on Maine. Tuning into the "social media driven culture" of youths is important to organizing on this subject, Ellner said.
"Young people support marriage equality in staggeringly high numbers," he added. "The more young people that come out to vote the better we do."
Although gay marriage has never won before at the voting booth (states where it is legal, such as Massachusetts and New York, passed it via the legislature or courts), organizers are hopeful this year will be different. The Obama administration, including the president, has come out in support of gay marriage and national polling shows that half the country believes same-sex marriage should be valid under the law.
The organization, which received initial funding of $200,000 from shopping site Fab.com founder Jason Goldberg, has also taken out some paid advertising on Facebook.
Other organizers for The Four 2012 include Ryan Davis of Blue State Digital, the politics-minded digital marketing firm that worked on President Obama's 2008 online campaign; Andre Banks of AllOut.org, and Jeremy Heimans of social media consultancy Purpose.