Whenever I’m called in to provide the leaders of both public and private sectors training and guidance on using digital tools, I sometimes get a little bit of resistance. And that resistance almost always focuses on a single complaint:I just don’t have time for this. People in leadership positions are already juggling a million different roles and tasks, and I’m asking them to take on another that doesn’t, at first glance, feel like it has immediate return on time investment. In the nonprofit world especially, movement leaders experience intensive levels of stress, and social media doesn’t always seem to make sense in the scramble of trying to save the world.
You know about social media. You know that you’ve got to get on board with it for your organization, or for your own activist work. You may have even signed up for Twitter or Facebook already, but you don’t know where to start. What are the right tools to use? What do I say? Why are other people doing this? And, perhaps, most importantly: how the hell do I know if it’s working?!
View the full event page for the whole description and pricing information, and to register. We’re also offering scholarships for those in need.
WE ARE GOING TO HAVE SO MUCH FUN.
Oh, and speaking of need, I should mention how this idea came about– a lot of people come to Jen Angel (of Aid & Abet) and I looking for a hands-on workshop, but can’t afford to bring me into their organization or event. This workshop will get folks who need it the most, working on the front lines, the skills they need without emptying their budgets.
Based on how things go in SF, I’ll be offering this boot camp in other cities (likely next up will be NYC and DC), and possibly online. If you’re interested helping to host one in other cities, please let us know– leave a comment below or send me an email. And, if you’re interested in bringing me to your organization for a group training or strategy session, drop Jen a line.
Increasingly, I’m getting mentions from people with whom I’m not familiar, asking to click on links to their work. I see this happening to my friends, too, so I thought I’d collect and share my responses to one Twitter user on why this doesn’t work that well.
UPDATE: I got a little swipe about my ego being too big to click on links. Granted, my ego is ginormous (ask anyone who knows me intimately offline), but for once, it doesn’t have much to do with the situation at hand. I’m just explaining here how important the relationship mechanism is for sharing information– it’s called “social” media for a reason. Tee hee.
There’s a lot of talk about being able to manage our privacy and boundaries on various online social networks, but one thing that’s in part missing from the conversation is reminders to ourselves and others that there should be guidelines on how you treat other people. I feel like there’s this notion out there that we are each an island at the mercy of whatever mercurial whims our friends, colleagues, and family throw our way. But what if we started thinking about “do unto others” –not just as we would have done to ourselves, either–as we also cavort about online?
In that spirit, here’s some simple advice about how to treat others with respect and still have fun online. The number one rule? Ask first.
Mind-blowing concept, I know! But with the ease with which we can refer to and tag each other on different services, we forget that sometimes people don’t want to be referred to or tagged. Just because someone has a public profile, doesn’t mean they want to be quoted at every juncture! Here are some standard questions I use:
Not only does this tell your friend that you actually care about their privacy (most people like that), but it also helps spread the reminder that they should do the same for you and others.
The more you do it, the more comfortable it’ll be for both you and your friends. Now, onward with your sharing!
I had a perfect storm of a project recently, and decided to write it up as a case study in how to manage a short-term social media campaign. I’ll discuss tools, tactics and metrics — hope you find it useful!
At the beginning of December, Aspen Baker, the executive director of Exhale, wrote me an email. “I’m looking for a social media coordinator and web person for a short-term project,” she said. “Interested?” I’ve always been a fan of Aspen’s work at Exhale — they’re a nonprofit organization which provides the first and only nonjudgmental national, multilingual after-abortion talkline. One of the things I love most about Exhale, which I learned largely through their campaign, is their advocacy of “pro-voice” in dealing with abortion. Every woman’s voice deserves to be heard; women (in numerous political contexts) don’t need to be talked at, shamed, have numbers and percentages thrown at them as much as they need to be listened to, and told that they are loved. Read more
Note: This how-to became quite popular, and I wanted to be clear that it is available for reposting and reuse for other campaigns, so long as you respect the Creative Commons license (Attribution non-commercial share-alike).
If you’re not on Twitter, but you’d like a helping hand through the sign-up process, go here.
If you’re new to Twitter, and want an introduction to basic concepts– retweets, hashtags, and mentions, oh my!– go here.
One of the more attractive social media tactics when it comes to creating a stir is to use hashtags. Hashtags, in the case of campaigns and politics, can be useful to:
What’s a hashtag? It’s an agreed-upon keyword preceded by the pound sign that’s added to your tweet. In this case, we’re using #dearjohn. No special skill is required–just type it into your tweet, or copy and paste it.
Tweets with the #dearjohn hashtag should convey one or more of the following:
UPDATE: Check out Sady’s newer post for content ideas and guidelines.
Consider also monitoring the #dearjohn hashtag (how to do that is explained below) and retweeting posts that you agree with. Amplifying powerful messages and diverse voices goes a long way towards building critical mass.
It’s also helpful to include the Twitter handles of people that you want to hear your message. House representatives who are sponsoring the bill should be considered first–start with @SpeakerBoehner himself. A list of the rest of the co-sponsors–all 173 of them!– can be found here (click on “Co-sponsors” under Representative Christopher Smith). You can use GovLuv to find the Twitter handles of the representative you wish to mention. Consider also sending messages of thanks to representatives who are speaking out and standing up for women in this fight. UPDATE: Amaditalks on Tumblr compiled the whole list here.
You might also think about starting (or joining an existing) an act.ly petition to collect #dearjohn tweeters in yet another online location.
A word about decency/politeness: You don’t have to be nice in your tweets when confronting folks that support HR3. But calling names, making false or libelous accusations, etc., only hurts the rest of the movement. Be outraged, but keep your head on straight.
A word about trolls: If you’re new to this kind of thing, you might not have had much experience with trolling behavior. Basically, a troll is someone who actually isn’t interested in having a productive discussion, and only posts extremely inflammatory comments to derail the entire conversation. Ignore them. Block them. Do not, repeat, do not respond in any way, shape or form–do not even tell them that you’re blocking them. Trolls are vampires: they are emboldened and strengthened by any response to their antics, and you will inevitably be weakened. I know it’s hard to ignore them. But trust me, it is the only way.
To see the running log of all #dearjohn posts, you can do a few things:
Updated March 2014
So, you’re ready to sign up for Twitter! Sometimes the signup process can be a bit daunting, so I created this short guide showing you what you need to know. Let’s get started! Read more
Last night, my friend Nancy Goldstein asked me for some help* in tracking clicks and references in Twitter… and I thought, as I was laying out for her what I do, “man, this would be a good blog post.” Before we begin, though, let’s all repeat the first rule of Twitter: it’s not about you. It’s about the conversation. Being obsessive about ego-checking can breed an addictive, greedy ego-monster (not that I know from experience), so it’s important to remember why you’re doing this set up–not just so you can see people referring you, but also so you can monitor what’s happening in conversations that refer to things you care about.
Here are the tips I shared with Nancy:
Got (free, easy) tips of your own? Feel free to share them in the comments!
(*UPDATE: Nancy reminded me to share with you that she is “the most selfless, confident, least ego-driven person you’ve ever met and would NEVER dream of checking my RT thread to reassure myself that people like me or are actually reading my work :)” OMG NANCY ME TOO)
Based on the feedback I received on the fabulous panel I moderated at Netroots Nation 2010 (“So You Wanna Change the World: How to Rock on Social Networks“), I decided to share my process for putting together a panel that will knock participants’ socks off. I’ve been the victim of too many snoozy, self-aggrandizing panels to let that happen on anything I put together, and I’d love to see no one ever have that kind of conference experience ever again.
A week and a half ago, I received an email asking me if I’d be willing to do an Ignite talk for the March 4 NYC event, part of Global Ignite Week. If you’re not familiar with Ignite, here’s the deal: You have 5 minutes to give your talk; you create a PowerPoint presentation to go with the talk, but here’s the kicker: You must do 20 slides, and the slides will advance automatically every 15 seconds. Talk about creative restraint inspiration! Not only is it an amazing challenge and a great place to flex your speaker muscles, but the Ignite platform also reaches far and wide into multiple communities, and can be a huge opportunity to reach lots of audiences with your message. Was I up for it? Sure.
Then the panic set in. Oh my God, what I have I signed myself up for?