Monday, September 17, 2007

Twitter for Advocacy

OK, imagine a bill your membership cares deeply about is being considered on the floor of your state legislature or the US Congress. Now imagine that you really want to provide up-to-the minute updates on who's talking, what they're saying, what amendments are up, how the vote is going, etc.

Sure, your group could watch C-Span, but it's not always clear what's happening, especially to the lay person. What if I told you there was a quick, easy and free way to post updates as often as you want on your website using the text function on your cell phone?

I've been playing around with a service called "Twitter" on my "other blog" (Plugging In), and although I haven't seen it in use for Advocacy campaigns yet, I can see it's amazing potential. Through the site, you can set up an account and post brief (up to 140 character) messages on "what you're doing right now." OK, so most people use it to post updates on their food consumption and the rockin' band they're listening to.

But imagine using it as a continuously updating feed on your website! You're at the Capitol, your arch enemy is about to make a speech on the floor and you can let your membership know by texting a Twitter message that will post in real time on your website. Really. Pretty cool.

Let's talk about the possibilities, shall we?

2 comments: said...

I'm thinking about Twitter's many possibilities for advocacy as well (how about get-out-the-vote campaigns on Election Day?), but am trying to figure out what would be the best way to get my members to sign up for this new-fangled communication contraption. Having trouble getting them to read blogs and take RSS feeds.

Any ideas?

Steve Levine
Texas Medical Association

Stephanie Vance said...

To start, I'm not sure you even need to get them to "sign up". Just post the RSS feed on your website (see my sample at as a resource for providing them up-to-the-minute information. Then, once they get used to seeing how it works, some will likely be interested in signing up...