Tweeting the Revolution:Social Mediafor Social Justice.a training by Picture the Homeless
Social Media for Social Justice: TRAINING OUTLINE1. Overview: Whats So Social about Social Media?2. The 6 Fundamentals of Social Media3. What the F is Facebook? What the F is Twitter? YouTube?4. Examples!5. Tips and Tricks for Using Social Networking inOrganizing6. What Do You Need to Get Started?7. Questions and Answers
Social Media for Social Justice: OVERVIEWWhats so SOCIAL about SOCIAL MEDIA?Social media sites are built on people sharing their lives and interests with other people. Hundreds of millions of people use them every day. Baby pictures, graduation videos, gossip, opinions about politics or pop music – people put all of that and more onto the internet for their friends and family (and total strangers) to see and comment on.
Social Media for Social Justice: OVERVIEWWhat makes it different?Media on the internet initially followed the same model as old- school TV and print and radio. Outlets communicated information to a general audience. It was a one-way conversation. Social media is fundamentally a dialogue between a smaller audience of people with common interests. Social media allows people to comment on and critique and share perspectives. Some call it “Web 2.0” to underscore how different it is from the old-school, one-way internet.
Social Media for Social Justice: OVERVIEWWhats the connection between social media and social justice?Many of the principles are similar to community organizing. Its about people coming together for a common purpose, building a community of people who care about the same things. Most of the time, this doesnt go any further than silly conversation about celebrities and sports, but its up to us to turn those connections and conversations into action.
Social Media for Social Justice: OVERVIEWThe bottom line is:Thanks to social networking technology, were no longer at themercy of the mainstream media. When we want to tell our side ofthe story, we dont have to beg the New York Times to coverit―and then feel bad because they dont. We can tell our stories,ourselves, and put it out into the world for everyone to see.
Social Media for Social Justice: FUNDAMENTALS1. ITS JUST MORE WORK.Social media is not some magic bullet that will do the work for us. No matter how much the mainstream media talks about Egypt as a “Facebook Revolution,” we know that their revolution came about the same way ours will: through the hard work of committed amazing organizers. A Twitter update doesnt get you off the hook of phone-banking or door- knocking, just like an email is no substitute for a real conversation.
Social Media for Social Justice: FUNDAMENTALS2. ITS NOT SEPARATE! SOCIAL MEDIAIS PART OF THE ORGANIZING.Social media doesnt work when its someone in anoffice somewhere with no idea whats happening onthe ground. Its another venue for the voices ofdirectly-affected communities to be heard, and as suchshould be incorporated into all other facets of goodorganizing (leadership development, direct action,public education, participatory research, etc).
Social Media for Social Justice: FUNDAMENTALS3. ITS A ROLE LIKE ANY OTHER.If youre going to take social media seriously,take it as seriously as police negotiator or presscaller or any other role. One specific personshould take on the responsibility of all yoursocial media accounts whenever theres a directaction or other event, and do so in openparticipation with other action components.
Social Media for Social Justice: FUNDAMENTALS4. EVERYONE CAN PARTICIPATE –REGARDLESS OF THEIR TECHNOLOGYCOMFORT LEVEL.One great plus of social media is the way good organizingcan open it up to everyone. If a member is too nervous aboutpublic speaking to be the spokesperson at a press conference,you can chat with them one-on-one in the office and shoot ashort video for YouTube. Folks with Facebook accounts caninvite friends and family to actions. Well go into morespecific examples a little later.
Social Media for Social Justice: FUNDAMENTALS5. ITS A TOOL LIKE ANY OTHER – ITSONLY AS GOOD OR AS BAD OR ASSTUPID AS THE USE YOU PUT IT TO.Maybe 95% of what goes on on Facebook is a stupid andridiculous waste of time. Maybe most people follow Twitterso they can find out what Paris Hilton had for breakfast. ButWE can use it to do turnout for a protest, or to cry foul on abad news story, or a million other positive things. So whilewe might personally find these things ridiculous, we cantafford to overlook any tools in the struggle for liberation.
Social Media for Social Justice: FUNDAMENTALS6. ALL THE SAME RULES APPLY.The enemy is listening. Anything you put out on an opensocial network WILL be read by law enforcement or othertargets. Dont put out sensitive information!Also: * DONT say anything you dont want repeated, * DONT talk sh*t (unless its about your targets), * DONT lie...
Social Media for Social Justice:What the F is Facebook?Facebook is a social networking website with more than500 million active users - about one person for everyfourteen in the world. Users can add people as friendsand send them messages, and update their personalprofiles to notify friends about themselves. Additionally,users can join networks organized by workplace, school,or college. Other social networking sites includeMySpace.com, Friendster.com, and LinkedIn.com, butFacebook has way more users than any of them.
Social Media for Social Justice: What the F is Twitter?Twitter is a social media site that allows usersto share short, 140-character updates – called“tweets” - about what theyre doing. They caninclude links and pictures and video. Example:“New Yorkers Camp Out to Protest BloombergBudget Cuts: http://t.co/SXtNrpN” Twittercurrently has over 100 million users!
Facebooking Direct Action A Checklist for Using Facebook to Support an Action.1. Create an “Event” AT LEAST 2 WEEKS BEFORE2. Invite all your friends WHEN CREATING EVENT3. Send reminders A WEEK BEFORE AND A DAY BEFORE4. Post all your photos, tag friends whoattended, post links to any press coverage THE DAY AFTER
Putting YouTube to Work for YouFor radical organizing purposes, the best YouTube videos are:1. SHORT2. SIMPLE/STRAIGHTFORWARD3. FEATURE THE VOICES OF DIRECTLY- IMPACTED LEADERS4. SEXY (in the sense of: attention-grabbing, provocative, exciting... not boring and talky!)
YouTube in ActionAnthony is a young leader at FUREE (Families United for Racial and Economic Equality), one of our favoritest allies.Here he breaks down - IN NINE SECONDS! why were going to Albany...
YouTube in ActionYouTube can also be useful for longer, more in- depth videos! Heres a thirteen-minute film we shot and edited together“Sometimes the Choir Needs to Be Preached To” (for viewing on your own time!)
Tweeting the RevolutionYou can be silly and have fun on Twitter:“FIERCE ate an amazing meal & r bout 2 dig intochocolate cake! thanks 2 Alan Gail & staff @Mannys!”- FIERCE (NYC lgbtq youth organizers)You can drop random knowledge:“Ngethe Maina: its not simply enough to fight for theliberation of our society, we have to fight for theliberation of ourselves” - @CAAAV – Organizing AsianCommunities
Tweeting the RevolutionYou can break a news story on Twitter:“The weathers getting nice and the police are outenforcing laws that dont serve or protect. Buddhist nunarrested: http://t.co/hUGZl6q“ (CAAAV again)You can steer people towards longer pieces:“GGJ STATEMENT ON THE 2nd ANNIVERSARYOF THE COUP IN HONDURAS STOP US MILITARYAID TO THE COUP REGIME http://t.co/8V4CJzi”(Grassroots Global Justice, national alliance of base-building groups)
Tweeting the RevolutionYOU CAN USE TWITTER TO GIVE UPDATESDIRECTLY TO YOUR MEMBERS:“ALP Office will be CLOSED today!” - (Audre LordeProject, organizing center for LGBTQ people of color)OR TO SEND A MESSAGE TO A TARGET:“@domenicrecchia [powerful, conservative City CouncilMember] - Coney Island cant take the cuts!!!! Supportthe PEOPLES Budget!” - (Beyond May 12, union-community coalition against budget cuts)
Building a Base – On TwitterTwitters just like real life: you need to build a base. Hereare some tips.1. Twitter OFTEN, even if its stupid sh*t.2. Search out and “Follow” lots of other Twitterers –many of them will return the favor. These can include:grassroots orgs, reporters, media outlets, politicians...3. Be consistent: spend time on it regularly, even if itsjust five minutes every other day.4. Retweet stuff from your allies, even if its stupid sh*t.5. Dont take it too seriously.
Social Media for Social Justice SECRETS OF TWITTER: HASHTAGSA hashtag is just a number sign. Like this: # - But when youput it next to a word, it becomes a hashtag: #nycoccupation –and people who want to follow a specific issue or event canjust search for #nycoccupation, and get all the latest news.We used the hashtag #bloombergville for our tent city protestat City Hall, and dozens of people picked it up and started , sothat we could share information, emergency alerts, etc. Bycreating a specific hashtag for an action or campaign, youmake it easy for people to share information about it. Weveused #Count2011 for our vacant property count,#nycoccupation for our vacant lot takeover, etc.
Secrets of Twitter: Retweets!A retweet (or RT) is when you take somethingthat someone else said, and pass it on to yourfollowers. For social justice twitterers, its atiny little act of solidarity – helping spread theword about what theyre doing.
Social Media for Social Justice: TIPS AND TRICKS1. EXPLOIT JOURNALIST LAZINESS!!Newsrooms are scaling back staff, andreporters dont have much hustle or time todig deep into a story. The more you put outthere via social networking, the easier it is torepurpose your stuff and call it news.
Social Media for Social Justice: TIPS AND TRICKS2. SOCIAL MEDIA IS A NICHE YOU CAN FILL.Many groups, even big ones, dont have the time orinclination to put any real effort into building a socialnetworking presence – beyond maybe setting up aFacebook page to solicit Paypal donations. If youve puteffort into creating a robust community online you canmake a contribution to collective social justice workeven if your staff and resources are small. PTH has usedthis to play an important role in coalition work withbigger groups who felt we had nothing to offer becausewe couldnt turn out huge numbers to rallies.
Social Media for Social Justice: TIPS AND TRICKS3. LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT!!Once upon a time, only privileged people used socialmedia. Thats no longer true. Low-income people,especially young people, are already using social mediaextensively. Asking a tech-savvy new member to helpbuild a social networking base – especially the work youcant or dont want to do – is a great way to identifystrengths and get folks invested in the work. They caninvite Facebook friends to an action, or spend an hourresearching and adding Twitter followers; or find goodYouTube videos that deal with your issues.
4. GET SOCIAL WITH IT.The appeal of social networking lies in actual interactions.Thats what people keep coming back for – directcommunication with other people. It may seem stupid to click“Like” on a news article a friend posted, or leave a“Comment” on their status update, but if you do so it willmake them happy. “Retweeting” might seem pointless, butitll bring a smile to somebodys face. These casual socialgestures add up, and will make people feel more connected toyour organizations identity and work – and more likely tosupport you by coming to an action or fundraiser!
Really, all you need is a computer and internet access.Every one of the services outlined in this webinar isFREE, and can be accessed from any computer.Here are some additional potentially helpful tools!1. Smart Phone – Its really excellent to sendupdates/pictures/videos from the field – actions, parties, etc.iPhone, Android, and Blackberry all have Twitter &Facebook & YouTube apps.2. Regular cell phone – you can send Twitter updates from aregular cell phone, or you can call in updates to an off-siteally who can post them to social media sites.3. Digital camera – for taking pix to distribute later.
Questions? Concerns? Why the f*ck do I need to know this?
FOR FURTHER READING“Twitter Rules for Non-Profits,” by Beth Kanter“Using Social Media to Promote Social Justice,” Chicago Tribune“A Sustainable Community Organizing Framework,”“Organizing Like Obama: Web 2.0-enabled Change Agents in Action”(separate from how we feel about him and what hes done as president,there was some sharp organizing behind his victory)Training developed by Sam J. Miller/Picture the HomelessAdaptation and reuse, with attribution, is encouraged.