What’s On

Animal activists take advantage of #SG50 for a bigger cause

The dust on SG50 has settled, but we at Digimind Social are constantly keeping one ear on the ground to listen to what’s being said on social media.

Social media was abuzz with well wishes for the Singapore on SG50, as well as excitement for the weekend long celebrations. Among the usual fireworks and formation flypast, which have long been the main attractions of Singapore’s National Day, we also noticed something else:

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What’s in a hashtag?
It turned out that animal activists had decided to leverage #SG50 to draw attention to the plight of captive dolphins in Resorts World Sentosa (RWS), a family-centric attraction.

#RWSmoments is the official hashtag for the popular tourist destination.

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However, these activists had another use for #SG50 and #RWSmoments, tweeting unpleasant remarks about RWS for allowing animal cruelty and captivity, while attempting to provoke Singaporeans to respond:

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One such group, @MelbournDolphin, tried to lend clout to local animal rights group, Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA), by tweeting a YouTube video made in June to plead with RWS to release their dolphins.

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But how big an impact did these animal activists actually make on SG50?

The influencer network
A look at Digimind Social’s influencer snapshot shows that most, if not all of them hail from beyond Singapore.

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The proximity of groups like @MelbournDolphin (Home is in the Ocean) and @CoveBlack on the influencer map, coupled with re-tweets of each other’s posts indicates that they are banding together for a common cause.

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Among them are the Singapore Mums Against Captivity, a group of mothers campaigning against the captivity of dolphins. However, while they are a local group connected to this cause, they are still lacking in clout with only 70 followers.

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RWS is not influenced by these groups, either, judging by its isolation on the influencer map.

To trend or not to trend?
Curious to see how #RWSmoments would develop in relation to #SG50 and the dolphins, we monitored it before, during, and after National Day on 9th August.

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While it started on 3rd August and gained momentum on 4th August, it tapered off on 9th August itself, having peaked at 1, 067 mentions on 8th August. A sharp drop by 90% followed in the week after National Day.

Free Willy(?)
As was the case for numerous brands this year, SG50 was an opportunity that animal rights groups did not want to miss.

However, these groups did little to sustain the conversation, much less contribute something significant to SG50 as a whole, such as calling for a more humane side to the Singaporean spirit rather than simply using it to highlight the dolphins’ plight, something that many are already aware of in Singapore.

Whether or not these activists can wholly influence the public’s perception of RWS on social media, or push their cause enough to steer the brand toward a more compassionate approach to animals, remains to be seen in the long run.

Melissa Chue

Melissa Chue is a marketing executive at Digimind. Digimind is the global social media monitoring and competitive intelligence company that provides businesses with unrivaled insights into their true standing in the market. Digimind's proven intelligence technology has provided Fortune 500 brands around the world with critical information for their business for more than 15 years. With a customer retention rate of 92% Digimind has more than 100 employees across offices in North America, Europe, Asia and Africa.