Twitter aired its first ever Oscars ad this year during the telecast of the awards show this year.
The concept of the advert was female empowerment and the advert took pains to push the #WeAreHere hashtag. Essentially, what Twitter seemed to be trying to get across with the ad is that its platform can amplify voices that might otherwise go unheard.
Of course, since the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements were created and went viral on Twitter, there’s never been a better time for the platform to get that message across.
Twitter also posted the advert on its official account:
— Twitter (@Twitter) March 4, 2018
What does the Here We Are poem say?
The advert took the form of a poem written by New York poet, writer and performer Denice Frohman. In the poem, Frohman discusses the power of a woman’s voice:
“I heard a woman becomes herself the first time she speaks without permission. Then every word out her body becomes a riot. Say ‘beautiful’ then point to the map of your body… Say ‘hero,’ and cast yourself in the lead role. When a girl pronounces her own name there is glory. When a woman tells her own story, she lives forever.”
During the advert, images of artists and filmmakers who use the platform appear on the screen. These include filmmakers Ava DuVernay, Julie Dash, and Issa Rae; and documentary maker and activist Jennifer Brea.
Why does it matter?
All of this matters because Twitter is trying to undergo a renaissance of its own making. Last week, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey openly addressed the fact that his platform has a problem with harassment and trolling:
We have witnessed abuse, harassment, troll armies, manipulation through bots and human-coordination, misinformation campaigns, and increasingly divisive echo chambers. We aren’t proud of how people have taken advantage of our service, or our inability to address it fast enough.
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— jack (@jack) March 1, 2018
In a 13-tweet thread, Dorsey explained apologised for the fact that the company haven’t done enough to combat hateful posts on the site. He also pledged that the company will be doing more to address the problem in the future, inviting the public to comment their ideas on how to battle the issue.
Variety reports that Twitter has seen a 50% uptick in the conversation around gender equality in the last six months, compared to the previous six month period. They worked this out by analyzing the level of usage of terms such as “feminism,” “women’s rights” and “gender equality”.
This is actually the second time Twitter has used this exact Here We Are poem. It promoted a very similar video in July 2017 to coincide with the Cannes Film Festival. The pictures of women in that video are photos taken at the Cannes Lions conference.
That time, the hashtag of choice was #SheInspiresMe.
— Twitter (@Twitter) July 13, 2017
The #HereWeAre hashtag is a more recent phenomenon. It was coined by Twitter CMO Leslie Berland in her campaign leading up to the Consumer Electronics Show. The idea was to call attention to the lack of female keynote speakers at the conference.