Center for New Words; WGBH Forum Network; Leveraging Social Media to Create Social Change
I want to thank everyone for coming tonight. And our panelists who volunteered to share their social media tactics with everyone here tonight. The marked majority of folks here most likely have a Facebook account. A blogger to spend at least a couple hours a week on the Internet for personal use or for work. Social media has become the way we get our news find out about new products and companies keep in touch and rally behind a cause or candidate. So just how big has social media become. Here's a couple of statistics we found. Social media has overtaken porn as the number one activity on the web. Last year one out of eight couples married in the U.S. met via social media. If Facebook were a country it would be the world's fourth largest with more than 400 million users. It took radio broadcast 38 years to reach 50 million users and TV broadcasts 13 years to reach 50 million users the Internet reach 50 million users in four years. Facebook reached 100 million
users in less than nine months and I phone applications hit 1 billion users in 9 months. All these social media tools can be overwhelming especially for small nonprofits and grassroots movements. The question is how do we use and move beyond just having a Facebook or Twitter account and use social media tools strategically and effectively for a social justice campaign. So what we have with us three folks who all your social media for social justice work here in Boston they're going to discuss their strategies and tactics for using social media in order to better create social change. We have with us tonight Amanda Johnston the web and publications manager for gay and lesbian advocates and defenders no larger McKoy membership outreach and promotions coordinator at Cambridge community TV and Robbie Samuels founder of socializing for justice and a special events manager. Glad. All right thank you for having me. So my name's McCoy and I actually wear a couple of hats. I currently work as the
membership outreach and promotions coordinator at Cambridge community TV which is Cambridge as public access TV station. For anyone who's not familiar with public access TV it's essentially a Community Media Center we operate three cable channels and anyone any individual or Cambridge based organization can come through our doors get media training and learn how to produce media of their own. And I also am currently working as a new media consultant to the Cambridge Science Festival. So first I'm going to do is just go over the points for how to develop a sound and effective social media strategy. And then after that I'm going to show a few examples from my to work places of putting those kinds of strategies into you. First of all social networks say social networks have always existed. Social media is essentially the new thing that we're all trying to
wrap our minds around. Believe it or not Facebook didn't invent social networking. When I talk about social networking I'm talking about our friends friends of friends acquaintances colleagues all those people who are already in your social circles to begin with. And so social media you know let's not let's start off by not thinking of it in terms of specific tools but rather just as a way to connect to those and communicate and expand upon those already existing social networks that are out there in the real world. I would also add that social media is like any kind of PR. You need to develop a strategy. Just because it's free doesn't mean you want to just sort of willy nilly throw things out there without thinking about it. And you know you need to think about who are you trying to reach and why. One example that I want to give his with both Cambridge community TV and the Cambridge
Science Festival we're both very location based organisations we're trying to get local people involved. So for us it's not necessarily really important that people in California or Seattle are paying attention to what we're doing we don't necessarily need to gain a worldwide following. If you do have a worldwide nationwide following then obviously that would be more important but it's the kind of thing you really need to take on you know case by case basis. The tools that you use should really depend on who your audience is who your constituents are. Say for example if you were targeting let's say senior citizens some senior citizens you know we shouldn't judge our very internet savvy My grandmother is actually on Facebook so I'm not kidding about that one and CCTV we've actually recently taught a class about social media specifically for senior
citizens. But for a lot of people you know they might not be on Twitter just yet. That might not be something that's appealing to them so maybe just e-mail is what you need to be using you know converse LEE Some people will say that my space is dead or whatever my space really Pete. And you know it. In in some communities it is still a popular outlet especially with youth of color and people in lower income communities it is still very much being used and if that's who you're trying to reach then you should consider working that into your strategy. You need to figure out where the people you're trying to reach are and meet them there instead of trying to you know push everybody into whatever the latest fad might be the latest fad might might not be where your audience is. Whatever tools you end up using integration and compelling content
is key. I'll give a few examples of that and go into that for a little later. But you know if you have a Facebook Twitter Facebook page make sure youre promoting it on your Twitter account and vice versa. Make sure all of those are being promoted on your website or your blog if you have printed materials make sure that you know your Facebook and Twitter user names are on those so people can more easily find you regarding compelling content. One thing that's really special I think about social media is that like I mentioned in a later point it's not advertising and it doesn't have to be about pushing out a solid brand message obviously you want consistency across the various platforms you're using and you want the message about your organization to get out clearly. But at the same time it's OK to let people know that there is a real person behind your tweets behind the blog. And to think about the kind of content that
your constituents are interested in. Sometimes a social media it's not always all about you and directly all about your organisation and I actually highly recommend. Say for example if you're using Twitter to reach We information about other organizations who are working in a similar area. Same goes with blogging. And just to kind of open up and realize that it's not the focus to the spotlight doesn't have to be on time. Once again just another point. You know think about why youre tweeting or doing a Facebook status update. What is the action that you want people to take. Do you want them to rally around a specific cause you want them to sign a petition. I actually have an example of that a bit later. Another point is just to let go because like I mentioned earlier Social media isn't advertising in another key thing that's really important about it is that you have a lot more
interaction and to really highlight that kind of interaction. I recently went to Iraq recently attended a wedding are about branding for nonprofits that actually suggested that if you're on Facebook make sure that the first thing someone sees when they visit your Facebook page is the information about your company or your organization. You don't want they suggested that you don't want people to see the wall posts because who knows you don't know what people might have posted on your wall. I would once again argue the exact opposite because when people go to your Facebook page and they see that there's a lot of activity there's buzz there's conversation that is so much more compelling than you know just a statement about this is an organization. This is what we do because visitors to your page get to see. Essentially they get to see your work they get to see your impact in action. And finally measuring your success. I
think we're going to talk about this once we all start talking about the various tools that we're using. Another myth about social media is that it can be difficult to gauge your results. How do you know that your tweets your Facebook updates your blog your blog posts are actually working or doing anything. And once again it comes back to interaction. If you see people you know posting links to your blog people read tweeting things you know that's a success people are interested. People are engaged and there's also things that you can use such as Google Analytics and various other analytics tools that will also give you concrete numbers so you'll get that quantitative information in addition to the qualitative information that you can get. All right so now this.
It's just I'm just going to show some examples of these sorts of strategies actually in use. So the first example I want to show is CCTV civic journalism program which is called Neighborhood media and it's sort of a blend of blogging social networking Web video Web photos. And it started a couple of years ago and the purpose of the program was to take in regular people who were interested in learning journalism skills and also learning how to blog and shoot video so that they in turn could go back out into their communities and report on issues of importance that are happening in their Cambridge neighborhoods and communities. So I'll just show the way I think I have to put this age. OK. So this is the neighbor media portion of our site
and just so you know what platform we're using this whole site was built on Drupal which is an open source content management system so if anybody is really into you know building a website from scratch this is a really great tool that I would record. You know I would recommend you know you don't have to pay anything except for your actual web hosting and it's extremely flexible. And the reason we went with this for our website is that it allows multiple users to have blogs. And there's also a social networking element of it as well where people can create their own profiles on our site and interact and engage with each other. And so just an example of a cross-promotion we have you know right up in the top in bold follow us on Twitter Facebook YouTube. There's also an RSS feed. We also have RSS feeds from other Cambridge organizations and a calendar that feeds in upcoming events there's volunteer listings for
things happening in Cambridge and it's an example of. One blog series that's been really popular is this one called Cambridge eyesores where one of our program participants she would investigate the history behind an abandoned building in Cambridge. And you know sort of talk about what used to be there why it's been abandoned and you know this is the kind of thing you can see we've got like a fair amount of comments on this. And you know it's definitely not the sort of thing that appeals to everybody. But we found our niche and I'm showing this whole website as an example because this is the kind of thing that you know in theory anyone could build around any sort of social issue or cause and create an online hub
around specific issues that people are interested in and you know give them a place to congregate and show all their information. Oh also on that site we do we do also have web videos and the people in that program are given your flip cameras which are you know pretty inexpensive technology. And it's not really high quality video but it's definitely got enough for the web and so that's another component. It's been integrated there. And then TVs also used Facebook and Twitter around media advocacy issues lately. So. Let's hold him here. So here is one where we have some people in our youth program actually did a video about just the whole debate that's going on in the FCC regarding broadband access that so many
me keeping track up. And so aside from CCTV mission of trying to get people involved with media and focusing on local issues this is another issue that we're advocating for through the use of social media. And then I wanted to show off a few other examples of some success stories this is also a really good tool that I would recommend. It's called the petition site and this is a site that allows you to make free petitions and you can e-mail them out to people put them on your Facebook Twitter all of that good stuff. And this is a petition that we did earlier this year. Cambridge community TV is actually in the process of renegotiating its license to
operate for the next 10 years. And we found out on rather short notice that there was going to be a city hearing about this. We knew that there would be a city hearing at some point but they didn't really give us the date in advance so we found out a few days before. And it was one of those situations of like OK great now we need to get you know rally some support around all of this and show that people are interested in our continued existence. And so one thing that we did was we set up this petition. And in just a matter of a couple of days we got close to 400 signatures on this. And people can include their comments as well that we were able to forward on to the city in our defense. So that's another really good tool that I like it's free it's really easy to use and it's a good one that you can incorporate into these sorts of efforts. The other organization that I'm currently involved with his the Cambridge Science Festival which is a nine day festival of all sorts of events there's things for kids and
families also talks. Film screenings all around the idea of making science fun and accessible for everyone. So right now we recently developed a strategy to include blogging Twitter Facebook and a Web video. That's something that's completely new for the festival this year that I have started and will actually give you. OK. Well give us a sneak peek of our blog because this is actually going to launch next week so right now there's not anything on it but once again you know linking to your Twitter and Facebook we have a flickr photo stream which for some reason is loading in slowly right now but. The people who will be posting to this blog are actually going to be MIT students since MIT hosts this festival and this is an example once again of having compelling content the people working on the marketing side of this festival
myself included were not scientists you know. So we're not going to be able to authentically create the kind of content that our users would want so we're working we're branching out and sort of delegating that work. So work with people who can help us out in that respect. It's. Once again just our Twitter page and one strategy that we followed with this is keeping our audience in mind. All of our tweets will tend to be around things that either people who are already interested in science might might find interesting or just the casual. The science of cheese learning why our brains love it so much.
But essentially we tried you know we have a pretty wide audience with this and the people that we have following that range from people at Microsoft to teachers to mommy bloggers. So this has been sort of an interesting experiment in kind of balancing all of those constituencies because some people are already you know really science savvy so we don't want to provide dumbed down information to them. But on the same time we don't want to be too intimidating to people who aren't very science savvy but are maybe just kind of curious about it all. And one tool that I use in conjunction with this Twitter account is a tool called social. And there's various other tools that will do the similar thing where you can schedule some of your tweets in advance so that social Uhm yeah it's actually on the handout and there's a few other clients who will do the same. The same sort of thing but
obviously you don't want everything to be preprogrammed and I do still you know tweet things out as they come. But if you know that there's a certain day you want to get a certain message out it's really helpful for that kind of thing and just managing your workflow so that you don't have to constantly be you know at your Twitter account although I know some people love it that I'm I'm one of those I do need a break. This is helpful and it will also help you send out direct messages to people that say Follow us on Facebook follow our blog. So you know I'm not going to get into detail on tools because you know we'll go ahead and do sort of our fishbowl conversation around that. But those are just a few examples of things I want to show. Just putting in strategy into action that have worked pretty well for us as far as concrete results. Like I said with neighbor media and CCTV we've definitely been seen engagement. Something like neighbor media we usually get
a few hundred visits to the site and the stories a week which isn't huge but considering the sort of niche that we're going after people who are interested in things like Cambridge development you know that's that's pretty decent. And the same thing goes with the Cambridge Science Festival that something that we've really just started up in the past month but we are seeing results we're seeing that were being tweeted by local profs and other influential people who are working in science and technology teachers that sort of thing. So so if I can just start this push I just want to say I think it's really great knowledge of the sort of strategy piece that you laid out there because I think all I would say many of the same things I think it's really important framework to have this conversation about what are some specifics that we want to hear from all of you about what questions you have and what you may or may not be doing also. So if I could just talk a little bit about the
manager at glad gay lesbian advocates and defenders. And in case you aren't familiar with glad we are 30 plus year old nonprofit New England based civil rights law firm and working mostly in the courts but also in the educational realm for the civil rights for LGBT and HIV positive people. And just a couple of sort of key things you may know glad for. We had a 1995 victory in the U.S. Supreme Court which established that people with HIV and AIDS are protected by the American the Americans With Disabilities Act 2004 the Goodridge decision here in Massachusetts that led to the end of marriage discrimination against same sex couples also in 2000 and a similar case to victory in Connecticut. And this year we just had a recent landmark ruling in U.S. tax court that basically ruled that medical expenses related to gender transition are in fact deductible as medical care which they are.
So that's what we do. And I just want to kind of contextualize my what I have to say about using social media in in that fact that what we are is a law firm that we're an established organization that's been around for 30 years that jumping into doing social media was not something argumentation like laughed at when we first started talking about it because we are I mean obviously there's a lot of things related to being working in the courts that we have to worry about confidentiality we have to worry about our messaging around things. We can't just be you know putting anything out there and I think there's also just a practice of vetting really carefully a lot of the communication that has happened in the organization in the past and so. But there was however. You know those particularly those of us in the public affairs and education department which is my department. This idea that this is going to be part of what your media strategy is now going forward is that if what we're trying to do
is get these stories out about the harms that are facing people that we're working for and fighting on behalf of we need to be in this sphere. It's an opportunity to get stories out without depending on mainstream media. Mainstream media is not what it used to be. And it's also a wonderful way to listen and to hear what people are saying and what the conversation is out there and figure out where we can change that conversation if that's what we want to do and where we need to think about changing the way we're talking about things as well. So they're not my notes but. So I just want to say that and say that you know we also so he has some barriers to getting into this game and we also had some wonderful benefits and which one of which is that we have to have time when we'd eventually decided to do this. I have the luxury of being part of the not all of my job to work in this world. And we also have content because you know part of what we do is we create stories we
we tell the stories of people who are harmed. And so we have a lot of great content which is I think as you were saying one of the things that makes you compelling in the social media world. And I think that we've really found that there are there really is a great opportunity there to to share stories and to get feedback on stories and to encourage people more people to tell their stories which is also part of what we're doing. So I and so I think what we kind of wanted to do is to just kind of talk a little bit about different tools specific tools and talk about what we've done that works maybe what hasn't worked. You know just kind of specific stuff around various tools and we started by giving a little context as well about my role here up on the panel. I actually also work it gladdened I'm the special events manager and I've been able to
see that arc of us learning how to sew incorporate this into that model of working toward social justice. But my role here tonight is actually I'm the founder and co-organizer of a group called socializing for Justice which is a grassroots grassroots group like minded lefty progressives off line and in-person to meet each other. The trick here is off line but yet we need to use these online tools to find these people and bring them together so it's an interesting mix and we have been dabbling for the last three and a half years on a number of the links that are on here and are our main website is meetup dot com is the host and it's a wonderful resource because with very little funding and no 30 year history we were able to launch in six weeks later have 50 people in a room. Half of which I didn't know them. So that was unbelievable. And now three and a half years later we have thirteen hundred members online and we've done 70 plus events in
person in three and a half years with countless people meeting each other and connections being made. And that's the justice part. Just in case you're wondering. And so I'm I get to decide we're now going to try Twitter which is the difference between. Group it isn't really even an entity in the eyes of the IRS and an established organization of 30 years. But I also have to find my own staff time pay myself pat myself on the back and I also don't have as much support around strategy and in fact have learned to seek out colleagues in similar situations in order to bounce ideas off of. I feel like tonight I'm here less as an expert and perhaps we all feel this way as we're more practitioners. This is something we use and that we all want to support you using it. But I'm expecting to learn more than a few things because I have just in the process of putting together these notes so we didn't want to use this sort of fishbowl to talk through
this because I think how we each use this can inform how you might use it and lead to interesting questions at the end. So which piece did you want to start with. Well I want to start with Twitter because I just to pick up from my story about how there was hesitance about getting into this world and where we started was my space and Facebook and we sort of put something up there and then really didn't do anything with it at all because there was all this wait what we do. What are we saying. We also started tried to start a blog and I have to confess that blogging is the what is the certainly one area where we are glad i think don't do such a great job. And I I think there's a very clear reason for why that is but when the all the reason has to do with what I'm about to say about Twitter which is the you know the whole thing about vetting three different people that everything that gets
done while a blog is tends to be a longer piece of writing it tends to sort of be out there in a you know in this sort of permanent way. And so there are just there's just more desire to sort of think through like what's in this blog piece and it's harder just kind of be nimble about it and keep it going. When I personally first started to think about and look at Twitter is the point where for me I realized OK Twitter 140 characters. How much trouble can I possibly get into in 140 characters. And so I just sort of said I'm going to start this. OK. And I started to do stuff on Twitter started to talk to other folks in my department and we basically sort of were able to just kind of jump in that way and do things because it was like I can post something on Twitter that's basically pointing to something that's on our website that something you know this is what we we want people to know about this or is you know pointing to something else that
one of the great things that I think Twitter really works for for us is it's a way to be a part of a bigger conversation the way a way to comment on either by re tweeting or actually commenting on issues that aren't necessarily our issues that we work on but that are off course relevant to the big picture of the social picture that we're working on. So I just I love about Twitter that it's just it's short it's quick and you could just kind of post something on it. And there's the kind of immediate. Conversational aspect to it because it's also again a great place to listen. Also for us works because a lot of the people that I find that are on Twitter are people who are active in other ways a lot of bloggers a lot of people who are sort of in the news business are there. So if we're trying to get you know a story covered on Huffington Post Well we're following were followed by. There is there it's another avenue
into other kinds of things that we're trying to do. One thing that I think is kind of nice about Twitter over other social media platforms say for example Facebook is that it's a lot in a way it's a lot more casual you can start following someone and they'll follow you back and you don't have to have met them in real life versus if you do that on Facebook it's kind of weird. So I feel like Twitter is also a really good way to expand on your social networks and reach out to people who you know you might not otherwise get in touch with. So I'm going to start from the very beginning which is like learning how to use Twitter is just a whole new level of figuring out what you're talking about and why you're talking about it. Because I know for me I had to get clarity about that. So there's a Twitter account for so just socializing with us as. And then I personally started a Twitter account. And at first I thought that I would just have a Twitter account to follow news sources and just kind of get more content and then I'd be really posting a so just and I can't think the
last time I logged into the SO JUST account because I created a hash tag that allows me and anyone else who does hashtags so just to read tweet automatically out to the so just followers. And soon Instead I realize that I have a lot more content. And messaging that I'm interested in that actually goes outside of the brand that I had formed for so just and so it's sort of like thinking through which one of these should it be sent through and then kind of realizing there wasn't as much distinction sometimes. So I think that if you're new to Twitter you can join and just join a lot of you know NPR and Huffington Post and news sources. If you're only reading the Metro it's a good it's a good way to expand your knowledge base. And then you start meeting people and looking and suddenly seeing an at sign followed by you know a Twitter handle everywhere you go until you realize like every restaurant you're going into you could follow them and get their specials and you can kind of go on and on. But what I love about it is I've been
in spaces where I've gone to conferences I go to this one conference that has about 2000 people and I've gone on and off for about 15 years. And last time I went to it was my first time as an active Twitter user with a BlackBerry so I could actually use it in the moment. And before I even got there was using the hash tag hash tag as a way to search by a key term. So the hash tag was 10 and creating change 10 and I was able to. I mean follow it and also tweets everyone's like I'm packing to go to CC 10 and it was like you know how much do you need to know about that. But when you get to the conference itself I was able to listen in on plan Aries and workshops and and then ask questions like Where do you find a vegan restaurant in Texas. And found out there was one not too far away that we all went to. So that kind of augmented reality was a new thing for me and having been to this conference for a long time I've been was excited to then meet people in the hallway and we would be like wait you know Twitter oh you know. So it
wasn't just about expanding my social networks and sort of I don't know less real way just like. So you can have more followers you know. But in actual like in person augmented reality kind of way. And I like that part too and so now I'm finding for the first time that I'm forming relationships that the germ of it actually starts on Twitter and then it expands off of Twitter but feeds back in there's a nice little loop going on. And conversely I mean Twitter also is a space that allows you to participate in events that you can't actually physically be for one reason or another so I actually was able to listen in on some of what happened at creating change even though I was unable to travel to Texas. One of the things that gladdened has used Twitter for is for instance to live tweet at legislative hearings so last spring there were a couple of states that had legislative debates on
marriage equality bills and some of them passed and and we actually did some live tweeting from those from those public hearings which was a way to kind of get more than just the people in the room to participate in that conversation and hear what was going on. And if you're having trouble creating content and keeping your blog or your Facebook you know kind of current tweeting is that is one way to do that. I actually have managed to link my Twitter account to my status message by linked in status message and I now have it only when I choose to go to my Facebook status message. And there might be one other place I have lost track but it used to be I have to come up with new things to say all the time for all those places and now I can I can message a lot further and meet people where they are which is to what you were saying instead of me trying to get everyone I know on Facebook. How many people here are not on Facebook. Emily. I'm talking to you right now.
I need to remember that some of my friends are not on Facebook when I do messaging around events and activities and rallies and come join. And in one way I can do that is by thinking creatively about getting my messages in more places. And this is one way to do that. The basics there's some etiquette. A man and I were talking earlier that in some ways what we're talking about is what you might do in real life if you met someone and if they shared a really juicy piece of gossip with you or a lead you would want to tell people about it and that would be re tweeting which is also a forward in email. But the benefit is that the person you forward the message from gets to know that you did it. So there's a reciprocal piece to it that's really nice of the RTC in Cap's usually is a retreat. So I send you something and you're like that was actually great. I would love the people following me to see that when you send it out I get to see you on that and I'm going to suddenly oh who are you. You know what are you writing about. And that's one of the ways things have
built. That's just one two they don't want to take another one and another to another piece here is that when you're when you're messaging out what you're doing. It's as if you're saying it's everyone in the room who's listening. So your followers are basically standing within listening distance. If you're having a conversation back and forth with someone and those are the ones that start with an at symbol they are conversations between a circle. Like if you're at a cocktail party and five people are standing in a small circle not the whole room is going to hear that conversation just those that are friends with those five people. These are the faults. Yeah and you can you can. Then you get a lot more noise and screaming and if you don't know anyone on Twitter you can actually go and there is a way to search by name by name of a person or products or a sloppy tallents or sub liberty or
whatever and see if they're on there. So you don't have to know their Twitter handle their or their name. And again this can be useful if integrated into a strategy or it can be just like playing World of Warcraft. It's entertainment or a building. It's it's just a tool. I mean I always thought I'd tell people who feel like Twitter is overwhelming or that it will be overwhelming that it's really it's all about you know how you choose to manage it how you choose to look at it. I mostly read my Twitter feed on my own and hardly ever on the web and I I just find it very easy to see him over I mean that's one of the things that I personally like about it is that it's a really small bite sized chunk of something that gives me some
idea about whether or not I want to click on the link to read the fuller thing. And it's pretty easy to kind of skim through a bunch of things at one time. But but I also think that this looks really overwhelming to just if you just like pull it out here and just look at it. But I think and I think it's a good thing to keep in mind when you're using Twitter to try to convey a message that people are not going to see everything that you post probably because if they're following a bunch of people whenever they happen to tune in and look at their Twitter feed they're going to see you know the top whatever shows up on a page and they may or may not go back and look at what you know you happen to post saying something three hours ago that made it happen to be on and they might not see it on the right side of the page towards the top. There's lists below the search box and that's one way to de-clutter the inbox. Or de-clutter the the stream is you can create lists of your best
friends or your favorite news source or whatever and then click on that and it will focus and filter to that content. So that's one way some people sort of manage having you know hundreds if not thousands of people that they follow is that they kind of tune in and out to different things. And then again you can also use the search function to search for a hash tag. So if you search for maybe 10 with a pound sign. So the pound sign makes it searchable within the tweet itself. And this will bring you to whatever is being said about that conference. Assuming that. So now it's being said. And that's the other thing. No one owns these hashtags so after we got done using it a few more a few weeks ago there's now someone else using it. If you started using CC 10 and 2000 people start to use it. You stop using it. It's like yield yield to wait and you kind of come back to it later.
It actually just is just an interesting side note around presentations in the day of Twitter. There's been some really interesting studies about what it's like to be presenting with a what they call sometimes a back channel. So we now know that there is a back channel of conversation going on and perhaps there are other people listening in to even the Wham 2010 hash tag who are not in the room who might even it so the question in and I have heard of examples of people from New Zealand sending questions in which is amazing a lot. I mean it's daunting enough to get in front of a room and talk to people about something. Imagine if they can say anything they'd like about you. Publicly in the spot. So if I were fumbling it would be known and there is that's not a way you know. No way to hide that so. So we just look at the second one. If we just look at one of these just to kind of break it down so certain tragedy would
be your handle right. So this is a this is who you are and then wham 2010 with the pound sign that's the hash tag. The one this is glad law would be I mean with an out sign that's a person's name on Twitter. But it is I mean I think Facebook has done a lot of redesign in response to the exposure of Twitter also. I'm going to say just sort of on a slightly related note it's also interesting of how I think that the terminology that's used in Twitter you start to see it spilling over into other things because I see so many you know Facebook posts or even just you know replies to a blog where people say so you know the terminology in the other place. Right. Well and I mean one thing that I have on the hand out there is something a mention of something called ustream which I don't know will really get into talking
about here. I have never personally used it I've been involved in something that used it which is basically it's a good example of kind of lots of different social media things coming together because basically it's a free site advertiser supported it where you can live broadcast video of an event or whatever you want to broadcast. And then it has built in a way to pull in like a Twitter stream for anybody who is talking about that event if you have a hash tag. But there are also ways to Poland by using sort of using hashtags to Poland's kind of where conversations are happening about the same thing in different platforms different social media platforms. My philosophy is generally speaking yes you should moderate your tweets but if you're live tweeting an event then you let people know that's what you're doing. Then it's an expected yes.
I don't know if you have the experience if you're on Facebook you open it up and you're your home page. It's all one person not posting original content but just posting links to something interesting perhaps if it was one thing or two things but 12 and it kicks everyone else that you'd love to see. Like on to page 6. So I think that's there's something to that and that's where the social oomph is such a great idea where you can ski if you know you want to schedule things you can do that. And also you can schedule and try morning noon and night kind of tweets with a slightly different message and see which one gets picked up and read tweeted. You know when people are tuning in and you can get a sense of your audience that way without having to just be tied to it. I have had the experience of going to a mega tweet up which is tweet ups are meeting people in person that you found out about online which is similar to meet up in a way. And while we were at the space there was a screen.
It was that the nerd building which is the New England research and development Microsoft nerd building. And you know people were tweeting about using the hashtag and everything was coming up on the screen and there are people in the room in there people trying to get there and you were reading about traffic happening somewhere because there are all these people trying to converse and I have a big proponent of in-person conversations and so its can get very distracting. And so it can be really helpful in one way and I think that you have to know when to actually say hello to people or next to you and not just be here like this. I was going to say one thing about trying to sort of not directly reposed in your tweets but doing a variation on it I think that's a really good idea. I actually recently read in an online article you know one of those sites like Chris Brogan or somebody who's a very you know influential tweeter social media person suggesting that it's a good idea to do that because the average user of a casual user will tend to log on as sort of the same time of day like maybe you know some people like they prefer to log on in the morning so they can get all their news maybe some
people just check it after work. I mean obviously if you're really into it you know you might be on it much more than that for the casual user. So before we leave Twitter if we're going to leave I just want to point out one more thing about trending topics which is that I think both a cautionary humbling tale and potential strategy if used correctly because one thing I mean if you are tweeting and your account is public you can set your account to private which means only people who follow you can read your tweets. But if you want to get a message out to more people you want to be public. And one way of getting your sort of message into the stream is to sort of tag it with a trending tap tag now of course you don't want to just randomly do that it has to be relevant. So you but but finding ways to include hashtags that are things that people are likely to be talking about even if they may not be talking about them in exactly
the same way you are is a way of getting to be a part of that public conversation. Yes so that's the that's the humbling part though is I want to say to you is like so Twitter when you log into Twitter on the you get this sort of what are the trending topics right now and you can see you can change the location. So this is trending in the United States and you can change this to a specific city so if we looked at Boston you can change the country. It will change the list here. So basically these are the top things that people are chatting about on Twitter and mostly they're either really really obvious or really pointless and depressing. And so I just want to say like this is the humbling moment for me was when a few months ago there was the Prop 8 trial in California. And in my world that was like the hot topic everybody was talking about it tens of
millions of people were tweeting about it. It was the thing it never trended on on Twitter. So that was like oh OK we're really like this is really the size of this conversation. But you know nevertheless it's useful information may be blocking Well you know that's funny because actually there were some right wingers and Twitter that day complaining about how their tweets weren't getting weren't showing up in the hash tag Prop 8 deal which is not true. More conspiracy. Well so this is really just informational like this is what these are sort of popular topics that people are talking about on Twitter. So I'd like globally everybody in the world who's on Twitter. This is kind of top topics. I'm saying if you see if you log into Twitter one day and you see there's a trending topic and you think oh you know what. That kind of relates in some way to what
I want to say what I'm talking about. If you use that tag you're going to show up in this conversation that a lot of people are a part of. I've watched the Super Bowl ads by searching the hashtags that are popping up for Super Bowl ads and found that sort of a fascinating way. I was sitting in an airport not watching TV. And then went looking for TV because it sounded too much fun. So like but those kind of ubiquitous like ice moments that are happening they tend to trend. When the earthquakes multiple earthquakes it happens those trended and that was useful when we were trying to find ways to add resources and be helpful. I think the flipside to the humbleness is also seeing people really rise up and the common humanity and that this is a tool that can do a lot of good. And I know people who are retreating a lot of
resources but also getting messages out from certain countries who otherwise wouldn't have had access. So it's kind of amazing how it can be applied. I can kick off the first one because my focus is using online tools to have people show up in person. Related to Twitter there is a tool on here called event bright that has been adopted by Twitter users at least in the Boston area if not further as a way to to list events that you're inviting people to. And the reason is that when you're setting up your event page you can sell tickets on it but you can also list free events. You can ask people questions as they are soupy and you can make their answers public or not. And it's become a standard practice when you're doing a tweet up to ask people their Twitter handle and then make that a link and visible and people on Twitter like this because they can see who's in the room before they get there and learn about them and
follow them and then the organizer of the event will often create a list so that when you leave the room you can go follow the list if you don't want to follow each individual person. I found when I tried to skip that step and just have people go from Twitter to let's say Facebook I was sort of mixing my metaphors. It doesn't work because not everyone on Twitter is on Facebook and vice versa. And so you kind of have to follow people where they're already going. And so now event right is part of my strategy. I was going to say to answer your question about Brandy and I would suggest maybe trying. Yeah I think it is good to be consistent across the different channels that you're working in but think about. You know possibly having different iterations of your brand like if you will what are the audiences that you're serving that are very distinct. One suggestion I was going to say considering that you are dealing with very different groups some organisations have even set up separate Twitter accounts to focus
on you know the specific elements for each group so you could have ones for teens one for providers one for you know your other various constituents. And I mean honestly it might be the kind of thing of if you're feeling like you're having this sort of tug of war between the two sides of your branding it could be something to revisit. Overall if you feel that the branding that you have isn't you know currently flexible enough to meet all your needs. Yeah I mean I think for this is maybe doesn't exactly get to branding it gets to sort of messaging that for Glad that one of the things that kind of jumping into the world of using Twitter and Facebook has done for us is allowed us to have different kinds of voices. And both in terms of like what is the glad presence on these different places but also in terms of different people in the organization tweeting about glads work and
people will talk about what God does in different ways because that's that's how they talk about it and they're talking about it to their friends and their networks. And the message is getting out there in a way that is relevant to those people. I also think one thing that we are just starting to experiment with on Facebook something that I've seen. Kind of other people do well and it seems like it works is. So we have our fans are glad fan page and we do you know we do a lot of posts on there and we have you know a good gauge might want more of course and we put a bunch of content up there but we also have some very specific content projects that we're working on so for instance we have currently a legal challenge to the Defense of Marriage Act and one of the projects that we're doing around that to support education around that is a story project so we're every week rolling out a story of a different couple a different family that's
directly impacted by Douma. And so what we're going to do You haven't done this yet is actually launch a fan page for that project as its own thing because kind of experimenting with this idea and it's sort of at theory level thesis level for us right now because we haven't done it yet is that you know fanning gay and lesbian advocates and defenders just isn't going to mean something to a lot of people who might really be interested in hears this issue that I care about. And so we're kind of looking at playing with different you know it is different branding it is kind of you know it'll be tied back to God but. But the pope really pushing the focus on the stories on the content. I just want to put my glad hat on for a second. So I'm the special events manager of GLADD and I organize fundraising events throughout the year and I've been there for almost five years and fund raising is about raising money and we're also the 30 year history so you would be surprised if I told you our
donor base is largely 40 plus and privileged in affluence and educated in all kinds of ways that you would expect a law a law firm that does civil rights advocacy to have. And we really want to find ways to connect with the folks that benefited from our work and were inspired by our work. And once they understood what our work was and how it affected them they could then become involved. But we don't have a membership structure. We don't have that many ways of alms here and there isn't a door knocking campaign or something like that. So we wanted to create an events that involves a little all these great people that I know coming together and getting to be a part of this. People that I know and now I've met through socializing for justice and who would want to play a role but aren't writing the large checks. And so we just did this we just have the winter tea dance. And it was after 28 years of having a very different style event. We changed it up and managed to really change the who was in the
room. And largely it meant changing where we did our messaging so we did the additional stuff we sent the postcard. You know we put it up on our website but we also had a Facebook event for it and we tweeted about it and we sent out the way for you to list your favorite songs on a deejay playlist dot com thing. You could you know write about what you're wearing on getting ready Twitter and people did a bit did all that because we invited them to and played with it and accessed it in different points and then came together and it was all the donors that we've ever had and all these new friends of ours that were getting familiar with our work. We have work to do to keep them engaged. But it was I think a really good beginning and a great example because in my department doing fund raising we are always trying to sort of I guess take the guesswork out of how much time to put into things. And this is an example of how you can do a lot if you just kind of think through the tools and have the strategy behind it. And I think people were surprised I was not surprised. I see who comes to events when I invite them in
there be excited about. It was a good dance but it was fun and I think for again a 30 year history recommendation to change our stripes a little bit. It was exciting to think about who potentially can be supporting in the future because now they know who we are. That was kind of the hard part. I don't know of a lot. I feel like fund raising vs raising money via Twitter is really a kind of new new new thing and the way that it's happened when it's happened it's because it's some organization has gotten some big corporation behind them to basically say I will give X amount of money any time somebody uses the hashtag X or something like that in there. And those things have happened around very specific times and time to term limited campaigns. I do think Facebook has more potential for fundraising I mean there's there's causes on Facebook. We actually have a great story glad where this is not something that we did but by being on Facebook there.
This is just like a great story all around so is anybody familiar with the Westboro Baptist Church. They're evil. They they're the people that protest at funerals basically like they're it's just a really it's actually a pretty small fringe group but they do really horrible things and they do things like show up to high schools and protest because they hate gay people and they hate Jewish people. And you know pretty much everybody who's not them and they were going to so the day that same sex couples were able to start getting married in Vermont last year the Westboro Baptist Church said that they were going to show up in protest outside this one particular high school. And a student at that high school basically said well that sucks. You know we need to take some kind of stand and so he decided to find an organization that he could raise money for basically and that basically what he was going to do is have and I would like basically raise to have people pledge a certain amount of money every for every minute that students
stood outside basically silently cope counter-protest the Westboro Baptist Church. So he went on Facebook and he looked for an organization that did this kind of work and I'm glad he found us on Facebook. I mean we obviously we this is an area we work and we were involved in stuff happening in Vermont. I won't go into a long history there. And he contacted us and basically said I want to do this. And is that cool and he set up a cause page for it and spread the word and raised like $13000. I mean so this is amazing because a lot of his friends they were getting together with like what to do in response to sort of the wanting to take action. And a lot of them really just wanted to shut down the voices of people. And he said you know put energy into them I want to be supporting the people affected by this which is so amazing. And
his his request for money which was also through this cause page went out. We got donations from all across the all the states you know Canada like so the the Internet was allowing him to be heard and supported. And the photos are beautiful the whole story sort of beautiful. He came to our big dinner etc. but you know it's it's what's possible what's nice is if if we didn't have ourselves out there that would never have happened if we felt tightly controlled about the messaging that would never have happened. You know you have to sort invite people in so while I have moved on from my space not everyone has moved on from my space. And I really appreciate you said that earlier as well. And she's really found a lot of success around trying to create a buzz around a large event particularly an art or music based event by using my space and has found that she's reaching a younger herb in communities of color sort of youth oriented culture that has never left my space and will probably not
migrate to Facebook anytime soon. And a lot of people did leave Facebook or skip my space or skipped it entirely. And so knowing your audience like if you're trying to if you're a white organizer like I am and you're trying to do organizing and your keep saying why are they coming whoever they is in this sense maybe. I think communities of color you know where are you posting your information you're going to be limited or benefited by that. And so recognizing that Facebook isn't everyone meaning literally and everyone's on Facebook. We have to think of all these other channels including off line ways of meeting people and showing up at other people's events and forming relationships and retweeting and sharing and posting and karst collaboration and all that advocate that you would do off line is just as important if not more important because more people see what you're doing online so that this has more links has a lot more detail about the breakdown.
I was going to say in some of my work a Cambridge TV some of. Relations that we work with in Cambridge are in the you know lower socio economic groups and some of the most effective ways that we've reached out to those groups are just using you know community list serves that have already been set up so it seems really low tech. But something like that in order to reach out to that particular group of people has actually turned out to be the most effective thing. I use online tools to create flying squads so that we can get people from different organizations to meet on the same Saturday and grab printed flyers and ghosts fan out across the city and help promote each other's things for like three hours because we go you know all know that we want to do that but we all know we can't geographically to cover that and nor do I know as much about other neighborhoods as I do my own so it's again if you keeping in mind multiple strategies and making sure you're reaching the audience that you intend to and not surprised by who you're not. If you don't choose to do that method. And to that end there's actually a list of web calendars on here. Move them around
the middle of the page there is a bit Lee Boston calendars so it just maintains this list. And it's printed in Web publications and web calendars including communities of color and the LGBT community the progressive mainstream. I think one of the other things that often progressive groups forget is that if you type in events Boston into a search engine you're going to find Boston that calm eventful going dot.com coming you're going to find all of these very sort of mainstream web calendars and that if you want to have a broader audience opposed to those is in addition to your listserv and you know the handful of smaller list serves that are very niche and then you'll be reaching people a lot easier. There are companies adorer was working for one that actually create a whole site sort of like a Facebook for your company and you can do that for free using Ning dot com which is one of the resources here. And what's nice about that is if you want to have some privacy and not have your Facebook content
everywhere on your job site you can create something separate. Because sometimes we have multiple identities within the same person and not just the same organization. Yeah I mean it seems like I'm not sure I totally grasp it but I does seem like something like nothing like creating a custom social network for that purpose my piece might make sense in that case like where you're where it's basically like it's a closed social network for this set of employees and they might be more inclined to sort of get involved in it if they know you know that it's set up specifically for that purpose. If it's something else if you want people to read tweet and you have 140 characters total. But my name when I hit retreat is I need to leave 20 spaces for our t space. Robbie Samuels call in space. And so I ask people to read tweet I have to have the space fit
with 20 spaces still left which is like haiku when I'm on the T. Trying to come up with something. So if you have a link and you have please retreat these the studies have shown that that is the highest likelihood of why you're being retweeted. You've asked and you have a link to content which most people that's what they're spreading. But you have to leave them space. I was going to suggest maybe something like closed Facebook group as well where you know it's in. And generally not trying to pull people to new stuff like ning could be good but you have to get people there. And so my my high school graduating class Ning has somewhat died for some people because someone decided to start a Facebook one. And so the name people are salons themselves doing that. But like then there's this whole group that's gone to Facebook because that's where they were. So you know you can. And if you don't provide content where people are they'll provide it on their own because they can. And then you won't control even that.
And another thing I was going to suggest is if you're not sure what the best way to reach people is in the first place I mean maybe just use something like a quick survey you can use a tool like Survey Monkey. Set up a free service. Say you know which which tools are you using Google just came out with a way to do a form so Google Docs which is a way to have online sort of Word documents and spreadsheets and forms. And it's so even if it's if it's a very simple survey you can actually do it that way as well. If you were going to make your own site so Wordpress and blogger you can create and they have templates but then you can use of a site and you can do Drew Drupal and you can create and design anything you like pretty much. But you have to maintain that whereas if you sign up for blogger. You're limited in scope but you spend more time on content and less fixing the tech
problems that you've created in the process. Yeah yeah I think we're plus on Word Press and blogs are easy to get set up and go but I think that it's sort of like anything I give you have a pretty pre-built sort of template options obviously that limits you to how fancy you can make it look or how how branded to you could be I mean there's there's actually a lot there's a good amount of flexibility I would say in those tools so you can do a lot with it but you know you are still going to come up against limits versus sort of custom building something out which gives you alternate flexibility to make it look exactly like you want it but that it's just requires more technical know how and upkeep to do that. I mean even something like Blogger is it can be a good sort of happy medium if you feel comfortable enough with your basic you can you know get the source and customize it more than you you normally would by just clicking a few buttons and changing the colors or fonts. You know it's not a complete
out of the box. We did it as well yeah we did both. So we had a print copy in our lobby for people to sign and you know once again reach some segments of our membership who you know weren't as comfortable using the Internet. So. And just also to underscore under the blogs there's one thing called Network bugs. I was searching for a tool that would link between a blog post and Facebook and I had done some research. You can make it a note which is one way a lot of people are doing it but the note just appears on your own profile and not in the stream on your friend's home pages. And so Network blog this is the become an app that has created a way to around that that only lists like the first 20 or 30 characters that your first paragraph with a link back to your blog that does appear on your wall as well as the wall that your friends see when they open it up. Well I want to say I know its possible and there may be a tool out there I mean I've definitely
seen it done but I've seen it done and like nothing to post or like. People who probably have access to a lot of resources and have things custom exactly So whether there's like a prepackaged easy widget they don't really know of so some it's selective. I have no way of knowing that. I was going to say that I know blogger and I believe Wordpress is while they do have a little side bar that has your Twitter stream. Once again I don't know how selective it is or if it's just an automatic out. I'm just recently launched on Blogger and I have a widget and you can select between one in five recent tweets to show and you can decide where how prominent you make that. And so if you think the content is relative even though there are different voices. People I think you're Many are saying a lot of Twitter users tend to also be creating content to be bloggers themselves and are news makers so it doesn't
seem as much noise as it did when I was trying to send all my tweets to Facebook. I had a lot of like I don't care about all that come from my friends on Facebook so Inside Baseball is like that. That's one thing that we're using CCTV to monitor our web traffic and it's really handy because you can see say for example if somebody clicked through from a link. You know your Facebook or Twitter posts you can also see. You know any any place where there's a link you can see how people got to your website or you can see if they just found you through a Google search they typed in your name and found you that way. It also gives you in for a lot of information about how people are now beginning your site so you can see what the most popular content pages are. It's really a pretty overwhelming amount of information and there's so much data you can extract out of Google Analytics. You know it's really easy to use I mean obviously there's work involved in mining
all that data but all you have to do is just you know put the code into your site and it does the rest. And on a smaller scale bit Lee which I'm more familiar with and I guess buzz I'm also allows you to know. So if on the bottom of the page there is a bit Lee with says social media for social change. If you were to repose that somewhere and people start clicking on it I'd be able to see how many times it got clicked to get tweeted that kind of thing so it's not nearly as much content. There are metrics analytics come from that but it gives you a sense of whether or not your Facebook page is being used. You can put a different version of that link on Twitter and see who's using that one and that might be a way for you to guesstimate. Google Analytics one sort of concrete thing that I get out of using is we use google to monitor traffic on our website too. And it so does you can get the sort of top
referring sites so I know that most weeks Facebook is the third top refer like Google is first and people going directly to our site as I get. But we also occasionally like things will pop up as referring sites that I have no idea like why or what it was and it's basically like oh somebody out there in the world posted a link to something on our site and sometimes it's like. So you know right wing conservative political organization and it's always good to know that stuff right it's like I mean there are millions of tools out there we didn't really even get into sort of all the listening tools that are out there to sort of you know Google alerts and things like that so you can kind of keep track of who what people are saying about you or about your issues and that's I think a really important part piece of the pie. But Google Analytics will also sort of tell you these things that might not show up in a Google or but like here is this like Soap Opera Digest meddling from Soap Opera Digest or a site which has everything to do with the fact that we get confused with the lad. Regular basis so I think some soap star guy the media war didn't
they wound up linking to our site instead. I was going to say I mean I think a good starting point is to you know once again to put it back into the real world start looking at people that you know or your friends or friends who are interested in the issues that you're advocating for and start connecting with them online and just sort of let it you know flow out like concentric circles from those people and it gets passed on because if you're starting from you know pretty much you know where that can definitely be challenging but if you have a a base in the real world that you can get to and start getting them engaged and then move out from there. It's a good starting point and sort of following up with that reflection which is always good when doing strategy is to stop and see whether or not you've met your goals. But of course to do that you have to set goals before you enter into all of this and have a sense of what you were hoping outcomes to be. So who's coming to your events. Where do they hear about it. Is it working. And if you never question Who's coming to your events and who's not in the
room then then you're not doing movement building. You're not trying to invite new people in you're not actually building you're you're not you're having a conversation all the time with people you already know and so if you're trying to embrace and bring in and welcome new people you have to actually stop and see whether you're succeeding and then try revisiting this question of Who Do You Know That might you're trying know personally and bring them in and use the media tools to connect with more circles from that.
- Center for New Words
- WGBH Forum Network
- Contributing Organization
- WGBH (Boston, Massachusetts)
- AAPB ID
- Program Description
- A panel of community organizers discusses how to use your own or an organization's blog, website, or social media sites in order to create social change. They discuss how to blog, maintain a website, or Tweet in strategic ways that promote social justice work and grows a community around your cause, showing how social media spreads messages and strengthen grassroots movements. Panelists include Adaora Asala from Queer Women of Color and Friends (QWOC+ Boston), Amanda Johnston from Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders (GLAD), Nilagia McCoy from Cambridge Community Television (CCTV) and MITs Cambridge Science Festival and Robbie Samuels from Socializing for Justice (So Just) and GLAD.
- Created Date
- Asset type
- Event Coverage
- Social media -- Political aspects--United States.; Political participation -- Technological innovations.; Community organization--United States
- Media type
- Moving Image
Speaker: Johnston, Amanda
- AAPB Contributor Holdings
Identifier: 2b2bc585378ae40516bf2817af527bbd93f0cb42 (ArtesiaDAM UOI_ID)
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- Chicago: “Center for New Words; WGBH Forum Network; Leveraging Social Media to Create Social Change,” 2010-03-25, WGBH, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed February 26, 2024, http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-15-tx3513v769.
- MLA: “Center for New Words; WGBH Forum Network; Leveraging Social Media to Create Social Change.” 2010-03-25. WGBH, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. February 26, 2024. <http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-15-tx3513v769>.
- APA: Center for New Words; WGBH Forum Network; Leveraging Social Media to Create Social Change. Boston, MA: WGBH, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-15-tx3513v769