My boyfriend and I have an affinity for turtles, because they’re a good reminder to not rush things in life. I sometimes text him turtle emojis. But now, tweeting a turtle can help save real endangered turtles in the wild.
The nonprofit WWF is running a fundraising campaign based around 17 animal emojis. Each digital creature has been designated to represent a real endangered species. So, the emoji turtle represents the green turtle species, which is threatened by the illegal trade of their meat, shells and eggs. According to the campaign, each of the selected animals are on the IUCN Red List, and are symbolized by the emojis from the Unicode Standard 6.0 document—so users with both iOS and Android devices can participate.
You sign up for the campaign at Twitter.com/WWF. Then the campaign will track the number of times you tweet one of the endangered emojis, and at the end of the month it will make a suggestion to donate £0.10 or €0.10 per emoji. Of course, all suggested donations are entirely voluntary, so you could donate more or less. And if you want to stop participating in the campaign, you simply tweet “Unsubscribe” to @WWF. The money will go towards WWF’s work to help protect wildlife.
It’s often easy to criticize social media campaigns as “slacktivism” that does little to change life offline, but this campaign is asking Twitter users to put their money where their emojis are. That has the potential to make a bigger impact than your typical re-tweet. It will be interesting to see how much money the campaign is able to raise.
You can learn more about the campaign at EndangeredEmoji.com.