A lot of people are still trying to figure out the whacky world of social media. Advertisers in particular seem to over complicate their social campaigns with YouTube contests, multiple media formats, blog feeds, Twitter scavenger hunts, Ning group pages, Facebook badges, and on and on. Some big agency-created campaigns often give their target audiences too MUCH to do, the net result being low participation.

The reality is that the most successful social media campaigns online are dead simple.

They engage by simplifying a person's life not be making it more complicated. They ask us to pause, take a moment out of our hectic day, and just do one simple thing. And then they show us how that one simple action combines with others in creating a collective voice that is heard via the Internet around the world.

Here are three great examples of successful social media that prove my point:

MadV -- One World

A few years ago. MadV, a strange silent YouTube character (dressed in a hoodie and V mask) was best known for his card tricks. Then he came up with the simplest of ideas ... ask people (silently) to write a message they wanted to share with the world on their hands. That's it. Hand, sharpie, video camera.

The result was a deluge of web uploads, the kind YouTube loves to evangelize, and a really beautiful compilation video that ABC news called a "title wave of connection" and MTV News called a "cultural shift in media." For some strange reason the video was just very moving, maybe because of the intimacy gained in the moment of meeting all those people via a digital interface.

Now MadV is back with a Hi-Def version of the same project (video above).

Hopenhagen

When I first wrote about the U.N. campaign called Hopenhagen back in September, there were only a few hundred people who had signed its digital petition urging the active participation of world leaders at the Copenhagen climate talks in December. Now there are nearly 400,000. 

The interface is great ... after signing the petition you leave your own personal "hope" and it is placed on an animated map (powered by google) allowing you to mouse-over everyone's individual hopes for the climate talks. 

MNN's Climate Cloud Tag

MNN editor Benyamin Cohen pointed out this nifty tag cloud developed by MNN's tech team. It allows you to take a brief survey on how you are feeling about the upcoming climate talks. The words are weighted by size, so you can get a sense of what people are feeling "at a glance." 

Based on today's results, it looks like the Road to Copenhagen is trending more towards "frustrated" and "apprehensive" than it is towards "joyful."

Social media it seems will have a significant role to play up to and beyond the Copenhagen climate talks. 

Related story: Huffington Post will send one citizen journalist to Copenhagen

See also:

7 Signs You Need a Social Media Detox (via EcoSalon.com)

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