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Director Katherine Bigelow uses crowd-sourced tweeting to promote ‘Zero Dark Thirty’

Director Katherine Bigelow and Sony Pictures have signed on to a new crowd-sourcing service to promote not only the Oscar-nominated Zero Dark Thirty in its second week of wide release in the U.S., but also the cause of women working to improve American national security. In the process, the crowd-sourcing service they’ve chosen to use have raised some awareness for the company and Bigelow’s latter intent, making it the most all-round PR win-win in quite some time.

The tweeting service Thunderclap acts as a way to bring attention to a particular message by creating what is essentially a virtual echo-chamber of people sharing the same message simultaneously; imagine the reach of an army of re-tweeters or Facebook sharers, except the effort is coordinated and the messages are posted simultaneously. Self-described as “the first-ever crowdspeaking platform that helps people be heard by saying something together,” Thunderclap explains that its model “allows a single message to be mass-shared, flash mob-style, that rises above the noise of your social networks. By boosting the signal at the same time, Thunderclap helps a single person create action and change like never before.”

The service is free to individuals, although each message that is made available for others to share has to go through an approval process by the company before is visible to other users; the aim, according to the site’s FAQ, is for Thunderclap to be “a new idea about spreading good intentions through a message.” Good intentions don’t pay the bills, of course, which is why the company also leverages its services to corporate clients, selling campaigns for up to $20,000 – although that doesn’t mean that the users of the service will choose to share the message. CEO David Cascino explains that the service “only works with interesting content. If you just say, ‘Go out and buy Cheetos,’ it won’t work well.”

A better message, then, is the one that Bigelow and Sony are using the promote Zero Dark Thirty. Already available to support at the Thunderclap site, Bigelow’s message – titled “A Support to Heroic Women” – reads “Join me in saluting the crucial role women play in America’s national security #ZeroDarkThirty” In addition to the Zero Dark Thirty hashtag which leads to film’s official website, the message ties in with Jessica Chastain’s central role in the movie itself.

Cascino says that that particular message has “an interesting human element that people can identify,” adding that “the angle they’re after is women’s role in national security, which is typically a boys’ club. It goes with the girl-power, kicking-ass vibe, and if people identify with that, it could go very large.”

The message will only be sent on Friday if 500 people sign up to share it. At time of writing, 288 people are on board.

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