The Lookout

World Humanitarian Day inspires 1 billion social media messages, with help from Beyoncé

Dylan Stableford, Yahoo News
The Lookout

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Beyonce performs at the U.N. for World Humanitarian Day. (Cliff Watts)

Sunday is World Humanitarian Day--a day people around the world are asked to perform a humanitarian action--however big or small--in the spirit of people helping others--"doing something good, somewhere, for someone else."

And with a little help from Beyoncé, organizers of the global event say they made some social media history, too, inspiring more than 1 billion messages on Twitter, Facebook and other platforms.

"This could arguably be the largest mobilization of good intention in Web history, an amazing coming together of celebrity, brands and NGOs," Andrew Essex--chief executive of Droga5, which helped organize the event--told Yahoo News on Sunday.  "Think of it as 'We Are the World' for the social media generation."

Droga said the campaign reached its billion-message goal--1,029,763,492 to be exact--with 20 minutes to spare.

The campaign's website launched earlier this month, collecting pledges and messages from would-be do-gooders, soliciting ideas ("Make a homeless person a sandwich") and encouraging visitors to spread the word using the #IWasHere hashtag.

And Beyoncé, who shot a new music video at the United Nations specifically for the campaign, told Anderson Cooper her goal was to encourage the spread of "positivity no matter how big or how small." The music video--for Beyoncé's "I Was Here"--was released on Saturday. (It didn't hurt that Beyoncé tweeted about the initiative to her 5 million followers, changing her Twitter avatar to promote the event.)

World Humanitarian Day was designated by the U.N. General Assembly in 2009 to coincide with the anniversary of the 2003 bombing of the United Nations headquarters in Baghdad, which killed 22 U.N. staffers.

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