How did the Human Rights Campaign's logo become everybody's Facebook and Twitter profile pic?
"We were really beating the drum for many weeks," said Anastasia Khoo, director of marketing for the Human Rights Campaign. "On Monday at 1 p.m., we asked our supporters on social—on Twitter and Facebook—to change their profile pics and ask that their friends and family do the same." And was the gay rights lobbying organization prepared for what happened? "It took off beyond our wildest expectations," she said.
Monday began the week that the Supreme Court heard arguments in two important cases: Tuesday saw the start of Hollingsworth v. Perry, contesting the constitutionality of California's anti-gay Proposition 8; and Wednesday was the opening of United States v. Windsor, which seeks to overturn the Defense of Marriage Act signed by Bill Clinton in 1996, which excludes the marriages of gay couples from federal recognition.
As you've probably noticed, your Facebook feed turned red on Monday when all of your friends, including people you had no idea had an opinion on gay marriage, changed their profile pictures to a little pink equals sign on a red background. The symbol is a re-colored version of the yellow-on-blue logo designed in 1995 by Stone/Yamashita (who declined to comment for this story) and it's been changed a grand total of once since then. Khoo is possessive of the image, which looks a little like a corollary to the Swiss flag.
And is she biting her nails over all the variations the internet has come up with? "I have to say, I guess when we decided to make this decision it was almost preordained—in for a penny, in for a pound," she said, "and I've loved it. I've been so impressed by the creativity we've seen out there, even from people like Martha Stewart."
Part of the wild popularity of the meme is that, as Khoo points out, "58 percent of voters support marriage equality, and that number with the younger demographic is closer to 80 percent," and social media tends to skew young.
Oddly, though, the exception that proves the rule has been 75-year-old George Takei, whose G-rated Facebook and Twitter feeds are among the most popular on the internet and usually contain an healthy dose of pro-gay-marriage commentary. Takei's contribution to the meme-ing frenzy?
Equality. The final frontier. twitter.com/GeorgeTakei/st…— George Takei (@GeorgeTakei) March 27, 2013