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    Using Twitter as a Virtual Organizing Meeting for Nonprofits

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    When trying to build a coalition or community organize around a specific event or cause, it is necessary to have community organizing meetings to help coordinate efforts, disseminate information and build your database for future calls to action. To be effective, online community organizing must be done in conjunction with boots on the grounds efforts in order to reach the level of success that most advocacy groups desire. However, the challenge for advocacy groups in online community organizing is identifying and capitalizing on opportunities for engagement. The functionality of Twitter provides several opportunities for advocacy groups, and this week I will be discussing how to use twitter as a virtual organizing meeting for week 3 of my evidence based Twitter Study.

    Online activism can be expressed in three different ways. When used by boots on the ground individuals, it has the ability to create awareness and draw in individuals who are not at the event. With using this approach only, the primary purpose serves to create awareness and boost interested for increased engagement on the ground for future events. Slacktivism,also known as arm-chair activist, are typically criticized for mounting protest using social media while being to lazy to participate on the ground. However, this pessimistic view does not take into consideration the disabled, non-participants being activated, travel limitations, and so forth. The last and most effective expression of online activism uses a hybrid model of coordinating between slacktivists and “boots on the ground” in an effort to expand reach on social media.

    This week, I wanted to explore using Twitter to facilitate a virtual organizing meeting via a live tweet chat format. In this tweetchat, I wanted to provide information on how to use twitter to identify collaborators and create allies. Most importantly, I wanted to help users understand twitter reach, and how to maximize hashtags and followers to expand reach. Last, I wanted participants to help identify non-social work organizations and individuals that social workers should be engaging with on Twitter. I used a 7 question open ended survey for participants to identify organizations and hashtags of non-social work organizations to create a master list for social workers. To view the archive of Sunday’s tweetchat, you can view http://sfy.co/edhM.

    Tweets of the Week

    Also, Sprout Social responding to a tweet is a perfect example of how mentions and tweeting to influential accounts can help get your brand and message in front of a bigger audience.

    Challenges, Barriers, Limitations

    By using this type of forum for a community organizing meeting, I wanted to narrow the focus on the highest priority information to be disseminated and the highest priority action I wanted participants to complete. Understanding twitter reach and asking participants to complete the survey in order to create a master list was the highest priorities were the top priorities for this chat. When using this type of forum, you have the ability to engage people from a variety of background. However, you should not assume because someone has access to a certain technology that they also understand how to manipulate it and extract data.

    We are crossing the halfway mark of the #SWHelper Evidenced Based Twitter Study. Join us next week on April 6th at 3PM EST using the hashtag #swhelper. We will be discussing using twitter for advocacy, and a detail article on Sunday’s chat is forthcoming.

    Deona Hooper, MSW is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Social Work Helper, and she has experience in nonprofit communications, tech development and social media consulting. Deona has a Masters in Social Work with a concentration in Management and Community Practice as well as a Certificate in Nonprofit Management both from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

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