Is the world ready for social network activism tools?
* See the 4 tips below to improve your twitter petitioning efforts.
Over the past few weeks I decided to test one. Act.ly an activism tool for twitter. First, I needed a cause. One of the most important causes I could think of was the issue of cybercrime. (You know, ID theifs, data miners, phishers, etc.) I know you’re probably thinking, why not petition about the health care issue or saving baby seals right? I am all for people having access to doctors and protecting baby animals. So, if you’d like to petition for this, let me know and I will back you up! However, I run an IT business, so I decided to go with an IT topic that hit close to home.
Second, I did the somewhat amateur thing and I “got out my bull horn and started shouting about my petition on twitter” a couple of times. The shouters are the people who just randomly tweet spammy messages and links to landing pages that no one really cares about. Hmmm, I can’t imagine why this didn’t work, because everyone listens to everyone’s shouting on twitter right? Wrong.
As a result, I came up with a list of things to keep in mind when you are trying to get the word out about your cause.
# 1 Focus Your Message
Plan your signature tweets to be short and attention grabbing. Even shorter than the one I show here isn’t bad. (Sorry about the arrows, I was point out the petition information area to someone.)
Act.ly allows you to setup a tweet for the signing and a nice area below that to provide your message and sources.
#2 Ask Your Friends
I don’t care if this is the technology age, you still have to “knock on doors” to get a petition signed.
Talk to your friends (and I have some really wonderful friends on twitter :),
# 3 Target Your Message
Find other people who care about what you are petitioning.
Use hashtags, these are the words in tweets that have the # sign in front of them.
In my case: #cybercrime, #security, and #IDtheft were great hashtags to watch.
Lookup hashtags that are being used by other people interested enough to tweet about the same “ish” topic, and you never know who you’ll come across.
Last but definitely not least:
#4 Expect Some Confusion
As with any other new technology, people are not going to know what to do. You must let them know what you are asking. Sometimes pictures help. And if it doesn’t catch on, don’t get discouraged. I got 21 in a week and that is all. However, I met some very interesting cybercrime fighters: @teksquisite an internet security expert in New Hampshire and @MFEChannelChief SVP of WW Channel Operations at McAfee. You can learn a lot from other activists! It is easily shareable with stumbleupon, facebook, reddit, etc. You can definitely utilize those, or the neat little script they have to add to your website or blog.