Let’s face it, in this era, liberty-minded folk are in the minority (as if there was a time we were the majority). However, just because we aren’t the dominate voice in congress, the white house, or popular media, doesn’t mean that freedom has to remain voiceless or facebook-less. While these are the days of Obamanomics, bailouts, tax-and-spend, they are also the days of the social network (twitter, facebook, digg, myspace, etc). As recent events (like the Tehran election and the Tea Party phenomenon) have shown, web technologies increasingly inform public thought, and have to potential to displacing traditional media. So, even though times may seem dismal for liberty-minded organizations, the current state of new media offers us an opportunity to reach out and communicate with potential supporters like never before. Twitter, one of the newest new media platforms available, is proving to be particularly useful. Below are a few twitter-usage tips I picked up at a recent luncheon meeting held at the Cato Institute, featuring former CEI employee Cord Blomquist, now at the Mercatus Center.
Much of Cord’s presentation was based on this blog he wrote for his personal website: http://cordblomquist.com/2009/11/10/how-to-dominate-twitter/
Basic twitter principles:
The more people you follow, the more followers you are likely to have
The more you tweet the more followers you’re likely to have
Tweeting at intervals separated by at least 90 minutes is preferable to tweeting several times in a short span of time. The idea is to consistently remain in someone’s peripheral consciousness, to remind them you are there, not to annoy them by flooding their twitter feed (the collective “tweets” of everyone they follow) once a day or once a week.
Some twitter tools:
HootSuite is a free platform for using twitter: This service allows us to schedule tweets, enter in an RSS feed, so new blog posts and other new publications are posted automatically along with a shortened URL link to the post, and very importantly the URL shortening function also allows for click-through tracking unlike other platforms so you can know at what rate people are clicking on links in your tweets.
Twittermass: allows you to automatically follow people based on words they use in their tweets, limit follows to people using those words in your geographical area, and follow people who follow another person (such as followers of Catoinstitute or Reasonmag).
Socialoomph: is sort of like the free version of twittermass, which allows you to bulk follow people or bulk unfollow
Other interesting twitter tools we discussed included the twitter search widget which allows you to create a “widget” code that you can add to a website which will scroll the tweets of people talking about the terms you specify (for example, cei.org).
Twittercounter was also discussed as a useful way to collect statistics on how you are utilizing your twitter account over time.
TwitterKarma: Is a tool I have personally found pretty useful for bulk following or unfollowing people.
Lists: Lists are very helpful when trying to connect with like-minded people or for finding potential new followers. For example TLOT (Top Libertarians on Twitter) will enable you to see who the most active “tweeters” are in your particular field.
Best of luck to all you libertweeters out there and don’t forget to connect with CEI and me on twitter!
Connect with CEI http://twitter.com/CEIdotorg
Connect with Me: http://twitter.com/michelleminton