The Shortest Social Media Campaign in History?

Boris Johnson pulled a swift response last night to an anti-gay ad campaign that was due to launch on London buses this coming Monday.  I am sure you won’t have missed it – it was in most of the national, London and local newspapers today and on BBC Radio 4 last night.

I will stick to what was interesting from a social media perspective and won’t comment on the political angle of all of this, save to say that the proposed campaign was a far cry from what I, or most rational people, would consider to be tolerant, Christian values.

What’s interesting from the social media side was the sheer speed of how it all happened – this was no Spring Uprising – it was over and done with in two hours.

At 4.27pm yesterday, the Guardian Online posted an article ( referencing the anti-gay ads that had been booked by two Christian groups who support a “gay therapy” campaign aimed at changing the orientation of homosexuals.  This was picked up immediately by the Twittersphere and “Anglican Mainstream” (one of the two “Christian” Groups) was trending within minutes.  On Facebook, a group “Drop the Anti-Gay Bus Adverts” was set up and attracted over 1,100 active followers within an hour.

Richard Barnes Twitter

The noise didn’t take long to reach City Hall.  The Guardian Online’s next article ( was posted at 6.39pm.  In that time, the Mayor of London had picked the issue up, spoken to (you can imagine in what sort of terms) TFL, told them to pull the ads.  TFL then made a statement, which was picked up by the Guardian and included in their post.  It was so quick that even Ken Livingston couldn’t keep up – he tweeted personally “Anti-gay bus adverts show London is going backwards” just after TFL had issued their statement.

So there you go – you can get a lot done in two hours in the social media sphere.