The Single Voice:
“One Language… For All”
“IN a world full of people, only some want to fly…
Isn’t that crazy?”
Well- to quote/mis-quote- the words of Seal: yes, it is a bit. Over the past few months, I have been particularly devout, with regards ‘helping others’: feeling I am not doing enough to be a ‘better person’. I enjoy my semi-regular half-marathons (I am taking on my 5th- for (the) Alzheimer's Society- in June); I like to spend the weekends doing ‘good deeds/helping out'; I have launched a few charity/social media campaigns- it makes me feel more useful (as a person). One of the things that is getting me down is the unfairness of life. A few people I know have (recently) been diagnosed with cancer; others are struggling to fulfill their dream (as a musician); others are suffering horrible illness. I guess you can say that it’s part of life: with so many people (on the planet), not everyone can live happily/healthily. As glib and unhelpful- advice/words like that are- it is still unacceptable (in 2015) that so many people go unnoticed: so many blights blot the world’s landscape. I am a man who is not just committed to (supporting certain charities): I am passionate about various causes. In addition to (supporting equal pay/rights) for women, I am passionate about animal welfare: I am dedicated to supporting (the eradication) of racism, homophobia and inequality- gun violence and social deprivation are not exactly (twin barrels) of laughs! There seems to be a great deal of people unconcerned with ‘making a change’- at least doing very minimal motions. When it comes to supporting causes; donating a bit of money here and there- I know exactly (of my contacts on social media) will ‘step up’- most will not bother. I know we all have budgets- I earn less than most people I know- and it seems disheartening (so few are motivated) to do more. I feel- as a person- that I can do a bit more: dedicate more of my free time to volunteer/get involved with campaigns and protests. Across the world, there are some great (annual) charity campaigns. Red Nose Day (Comic Relief) is looming large; Stand Up for Shelter and Children in Need do their part- they are hugely important events. In so much as those events tend to focus (for the most part) of children (who are the minority of the population), they seem to capture the imagination at specific times- namely when they are televised. For the remainder of the year, momentum tends to be lost. Social media have tried to ‘buck the trend’. The dreaded/loved/cold Ice Bucket Challenge was a worldwide success (last year), yet seems to have petered to a standstill: I hope people are still donating to fight A.L.S. I have always thought- in order to perpetually unite the ranks on social media/general public- something a little longer-lasting needs to take place. This brings me down to my point…
The Single Voice.
The campaign I want to launch is an online (one): something that anyone- neigh everyone- should be taking part in. Whereas charity events- like Comic Relief- raise money for specific causes; this (idea) is designed to unite all charities- raise funds and awareness for all causes. Being passionate about various charities- and angered by certain illnesses and social inequalities- I feel that certain ‘issues’ are being overlooked. Through public engagement- and an easy but fun idea- here is a chance to raise serious awareness for important issues- raise money (to help defeat) some rather vile problems. Rather than community events (or sponsored events) this idea uses YouTube (and videos on the site) to raise money.
How it Raises Money.
The campaign is designed to bring together YouTube, Google, Apple and Microsoft: some of the most influential and important (companies on the planet). I will go into more depth (below) but the way (the user) raises funds is through YouTube ‘views’: every time someone views a video (you have uploaded)- 15p is donated to your chosen charity (an additional 5p is donated for every 'like'). YouTube is the ‘hosting site’: it is their website that is the basis of the campaign. Google will be the ones who are donating the money. Each user/member- who chooses to take part- will register on the main site (see below) and through advertising and increased search results, Google will gain revenue- which in turn will be donated into The Single Voice. Companies like Google and Apple generate enormous profits each year; they do great work but have a lot of profit coming in. Finding a (legal and non-invasive way) for them to generate more funds- by advertising and getting more ‘business’- would allow them to channel this money into the campaign. There is the potential (for an individual) to raise millions (possible tens of millions over the campaign) for a great cause- either something at a local level; or a national issue.
The Main Site.
The initiative will have a homepage: which will be where each person goes to register. The campaign will be shared and spread to social media, but at the first point of contact, each person would start here. Like Facebook and Twitter, registration is painless and quick: and a great way to connect with other users and like-minded people. The homepage will be well-designed and eye-catching. The top half will have various links: A-Z of Charities; Contact Details; Discussion Board; Events/Fundraisers; Latest Members; Links; Generated Profit (so far). The bottom half will be fun and interactive. It will depict a variety of locations: a comedy club; recording studio; film set; bar etc. The sign will be the only constant- saying The Single Voice. Whether attached to a studio (or comedy club) the figures (that interact will be from that world). Musicians- past and present- will interact; comedy and film icons (too)- it will be constantly changing and moving. Each figure will be animated- giving the homepage a great two-tone look/feel. I shall expand more/give 'the fully skinny' in my next blog. (middle of June).
Each person will be asked to register simple details: name, D.O.B., location; campaigns; total raised (and several others). It will work a little like Facebook, where there is a profile page: it will be a simple process and contain plenty of information- although nothing too personal or revealing. From the registration page, there are links to social media- where you can easily promote your page/share your success. When all the personal details/key details are entered, then comes the ‘fun part’. The Single Voice has the option of 25 different YouTube-based ‘initiatives’/ideas. These will be split into categories: Film and T.V., comedy, music, miscellaneous.
Each new member is allowed to ‘sign-up’/choose five of the twenty options. For each initiative you will be selecting a different charity (I will go into more depth later). On the profile page will be your list of ‘initiatives’. By each of your selections will be the total (money) you have raised; how many times your idea/entry has been shared (and how many times you have shared it). This charity campaign will run for a year- from its launch date- and your selected charities will get donations each month (at the end of each month, however much you have raised will be donated to them).
There are twenty five different ideas- covering film, T.V., music and advertising. As I have said, each person will be allowed to select five different ideas (from the list of twenty five). Each person could be involved with the campaign for five years When you register, it will ask you to select from the list- which idea/choice you want- and there will be a step-by-step guide. It is very easy and simple to complete. Before I explain how it is done; here is what you can choose from (among others):
Top-10 Songs. Like Desert Island Discs and Tracks of My Years, each user gets to choose their 10 favourite/most important songs. There is an option- on each entry- for a user to commentate/explain why they have chosen (what they have selected) but it is a great chance for the person to share their favourite songs.
New Music. This is an option that is a chance (for new music to be heard). A person can give the world a chance to discover new music/musicians. If a new band/act has posted to YouTube, then their music can be shared. There is a chance to select your ten favourite songs (from new acts).
Music Videos. It is nice and simple: choose your favourite ten music videos. Whether it is from a new band- or classic act- you get a chance to have a good think- what you consider to be the best of the breed.
Comedy. Whether it is a short clip- lasting a few seconds- or a full-length film/T.V. episode, this is comedy-orientated. Whatever makes you laugh the most: get it uploaded! I shall expand on this more- and what I would select- but you can choose a stand-up show; an episode of The Simpsons- or a comedic home-made video/prank.
Drama/film. Again, whether it is an episode of Breaking Bad- if they are allowed on YouTube- or a short film, this is the chance to get it shared.
Originals. This is the chance for a user to create something new- and upload to YouTube. Not a chance for self-promotion, it is a chance to flex your creative muscles. It can be anything you want: a mock advert; a new song; a comedy sketch- whatever you fancy.
Commercials/Misc. If you have favourite adverts then you can get them seen hear. This option gives voice to other videos: those weird and wonderful videos- YouTube seems to proffer by the bucket-load. Beauty blogs and ‘how-to’ videos; home-made videos can be selected. The rules are simple: it can be anything (as long as it is not sexual, offensive, and violent- or violates YouTube’s rules).
There are- as I have mentioned- 25 different choices; appealing enough to everyone- that gives the user a chance- not only to think about their favourite music/films etc.- but discover new and exciting work. Beyond Social Media.
Of course, the point of the campaign is not to share music/film- just for the sake of it. The idea is to raise money and awareness of causes and charities. On the home page, you get a chance to share your ideas and videos- and raise money (each time they get a ‘view). When you select a charity- for each entry- there is an information button: this gives you huge information and links. If you select Diabetes U.K., then you get to find out about the charity. There are links to their website; how to get involved in the community; how to spot the signs (of diabetes); ways to further becoming involved with the charity- runs, fundraisers, volunteering etc. This will be the case for every charity. It means that, not only does the user get to learn more about their chosen charities (and causes); other people do too. On the site’s main page, there is an A-Z of Charities: a full list of all charities; information, links and videos for each. In addition engaging people more with charities and causes; there is a hope it will lead to more community involvement. There is a chance to ‘represent’/choose (to support) women’s rights, stamp out gun violence, support local communities and boroughs- causes not usually represented by the big fundraisers. In addition to giving information about each, there are ways for you to get involved: get out onto the street and make a difference. Raising money will be a huge and important part of the idea, but it is hoped that the government will take note- issues and campaigns will be highlighted; a chance to change law- change people’s lives and initiate social change. Not only does one get to learn more about charities and causes- the main objective of the campaign- there is a secondary bonus’. Each time you compile a list; there is a chance to benefit others. Say you have selected Top 10 Songs. After you have selected each track, there will be a link on each video/selection. Song and album information is provided; links to other (similar) acts; ways to record your own music/become a musician. In terms of new music, there is a chance to help new musicians (links to campaigns; ways to share their music and causes); find great new acts; support local venues and festivals- ways to bring about equality and change for musicians. The same goes for film and music videos: ways to become a director/actor; local schools and campaigns; links to similar films/videos; local schemes; ways to support other charities and causes etc. All of this video-selecting and information-finding is designed to be quick to share/promote. With a click of the button you can share you entries/profile to social media; encouraging friends to get involved- taking this thing viral. It is A fun, quick, and educational scheme; with the potential to raise a lot of money very fast. If I was doing the ‘comedy option’, these three videos would be first up: when I was feeling very down recently they helped me hugely (and dehydrated me in the process- and all from the same T.V. show):
The idea is going to take a lot of promotion and co-operation. When it does start out: the website is designed, everyone has said ‘yes’, there needs to be some great backing. The idea is to get five celebrities involved from three continents- North America, Europe and Australia. They would cover the fields of T.V., film, music and comedy. Covering a range of ages, both genders- who have a track record of benevolence and charity work. I am wiring to various celebrities at the moment, but it when the scheme is kicked off- it would be great to have some terrific names involved. They would post (comedic/fun/serious) videos on YouTube: hopefully inspiring ‘undecided voters’ to become involved- and reminding everyone what they are doing this for.
Intended (main) ambassadors:
U.K.: Stephen Fry
U.S.: Olivia Wilde
At the moment there is the idea and determination: without contracts being signed; sites being designed- the big guns being involved. Of course it is not going to be as simple as it should be- 'some' celebrities (and huge companies) are as apathetic as they come- so will take a lot of effort and campaigning. The point of this blog/the early stages is to gauge opinion: would people take part? Would it interest people? Could this work? What are the 'pitfalls'/'down-sides'? For each entry people select (from the list) you have to donate a small sum yourself (rather than relying on others) but this should not put people off- it is a chance to engage and unite social media; represent all charities; try to make some genuine change. The rest of this year- in terms of this campaign- will be to get people talking; get names involved- contact YouTube and Google- and get them saying ‘yes’. I want to launch this within a year- it sounds a long way off but will take a lot of work. Above all, it will rely on people getting involved: I want it to be a lot bigger than the Ice Bucket Challenge. It is a golden opportunity to raise millions (and more) for a lot of causes; raise awareness of various issues- get people involved (on the street; in the community etc.) So that is it- those are the details. Of course- when developments are made- some more specific details can come through- website designs; how to etc. I have tried a few social media-related campaigns- sadly none have really taken off. When I raised one (for Mind) a few lovely people got involved: when it came to sharing it; their friends didn't push it forward. Same goes (with regards one I tried for Shelter). I have launched a Kickstarter campaign- to get new musicians together to record a cover version; to raise for charity- but it has received no donations. Every time I launch a JustGiving page (for various half-marathons) only a few people donate. It always leaves me really annoyed and disappointed: do people really only look out for themselves/those closest to them? People are reticent about donating to charity- concerned they will not have enough money for themselves. This initiative relies on a small amount from the general public (250 British pennies per entry)- the rest comes from Google. I have contacted some celebrities (Olivia Wilde is the latest: she is in U.S.; she is one of my generation's most impressive voices/talents- someone who is very charity conscious; has a great passion for change; hope she takes to the idea...) I hope every (celebrity) get involved; but the public have to embrace it: there is no reason why not. It requires no real talent or effort; it is all simple and effective; it will give you new information and incentive and above all, it is fun. Unlike my other charity attempts, I am never going to give up on this- if it takes the rest of my. I (like many) are sick of so many (good people) suffering; so many sectors ignores- so much needless discrimination and inequality (in a supposed developed society) - time to stop pissing about. There are a lot of people who are motivated (to try to change things) but not as many as there should be- that needs to change too. I am going to keep sharing and flogging this idea until I am blue in the face; until people take notice- until it is launched (and is successful). Nobody will give me a good reason (why it would not work/flourish) so for that reason, I will not put it aside- I am sick of only a few people (I know) getting involved with worthwhile causes and events. If you want things to get better; want to get things changes- you can’t rely on other people to take care of it. There is a lot of hard work ahead; a great deal of protest and (getting angry): that is the price you have to pay. I am solidifying and developing the idea: making additions/improvements by the day. I will publish an updated blog. in May: celebrities I have contacted; development with Google; website designs; plan of action- make this blog. more comprehensive and fully-rounded. With some big days/fundraisers ahead- International Women’s Day; Comic Relief etc. - do not overlook this one…
WE all need to start getting more involved.