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Twitter: Activist tool

October 24 2008 | Jim's Blog,
by Jim

Activism can (and should) take many forms.

To some it means an in-person demonstration and a myriad of clever signs. To others it means signing a petition. To me it means both of these and an infinite combination of opportunities via things just being invented. In some ways this all comes back to my broken-record "onramp" philosophy.

An onramp is a way to bring someone into a movement. It may be a tiny way or it may be a large way. It may be free or cost money, may be in-person or online, may be tied to a specific campaign or something larger, it may be mostly fun or mostly work, it may be an age-old way of connecting or a brand-spanking new way... etc.

Before I leave Surfrider one of the things I hope to accomplished is to shift our culture in this direction.

I want Surfrider culture, around the globe, to seek out every possible tool to move our mission forward.

Our mission demands that every tool that offers value be employed.

Twitter falls into this category. Like lots of things tech, it has an odd/fun name. Posts are named something even more odd (tweets). Once you get past the moniker sillyness you'll find some relevancy and utility. It's increasingly being used as a way to follow the dynamic nature of individual campaigns. Check out the graphic below, click on it to get to the page dedicated to this campaign on Twitter. Does it work for every use case? No, not even close... but for a project, campaign or hearing with a bunch of updates over a tight period of time it's quite interesting... it's sticky (keeps users engaged).

We are known for "getting butts in seats" at City Council meetings and other important hearings. I few can get 500 people to a meeting, can we get 5,000 people following the meeting or the campaign from their phones or their desk.

Yes.

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