Report Card: Which Groups Use Social Media?
WHICH ONLINE TOOLS INTEREST GROUPS USE, AND WHO USES THEM
By Chris Good
Being tech savvy is a prized credential among the nation's top political organizations. As new social
media tools have popped up over the past several years, the myriad activist coalitions and trade
associations have started to use them to stay in touch with members and generate buzz. If you're a
political activist, chances are someone has tried to reach out to you online.
But which groups use the most online media tools? And which tools get used the most?
In a contest among 102 of the nation's top pressure groups, cause organizations, and trade associations,
the Sierra Club and Facebook are the winners.
The tech-oriented communications specialists at 2nd Six, Tribe Effect, and Chris Lisi Communications
have just published a study on the matter. They surveyed 102 groups to see if those organizations used
14 online media tools, including: Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, YouTube, Flickr, e-mail, online action
centers to let visitors get updates and calls to action, LinkedIn, blogs, Digg, SumbleUpon, widgets, blog
badges (logos that bloggers can download and feature on their sites), and SlideShare.
The top five organizations were left of center: Sierra Club uses 10 of the social media tools examined,
SEIU uses nine, and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, the American Wind Energy
Institute, and Human Rights Campaign all use eight
The lower rungs of the tech-savvy ladder tend to be filled with industry associations that aren't
particularly active, politically--groups one doesn't necessarily associate with activism. The Grocery
Manufacturers of Amerca, the Dairy Farmers of America, and the Wine and Spirits Wholesalers of
America used none of the 14 tools examined.
The most prominent groups in the bottom tier (and their scores out of 14) were the Pharmaceutical
Research and Manufacturers of America (2), the American Council of Life Insurers (2), the American
Petroleum Institute (2), the Biotechnology Industry Organizatino (2), the American Medical Association
(1), America's Health Insurance Plans (1), and the National Petrochemical and Refiners Association (1).
Prominent groups from the top tier included Business Roundtable (7), the League of Conservation
Voters (7), the U.S. Telecom Association (7), the National Rifle Association (7), the American Farm
Bureau Federation (6), the U.S. Chamber of Commerce (6), and the United Food and Commercial