It’s one thing to just broadcast your campaign messages on Twitter. This is what a grassroots advocacy program on Twitter looks like (from Nancy Scola at Personal Democracy Forum):
But stuffing an auto-retweeting into an advertisement, making the message editable, and then attaching the whole thing to topical blog posts? Not until today, my friend. Over on Daily Kos, SEIU is running ads that encourage would-be tweeters to post a note protesting gender discrimination when it comes to health insurance — such as denying women coverage for pre-existing conditions like providing for the continuation of the species (i.e., pregnancy). Step two is that the pre-packaged tweet also links up to an SEIU online deli-style ticket machine, where people can ‘”take a number” to be counted amongst those opposed to gender discrimination in health care.
- This takes advantage of a built-in characteristic of the platform: the ability to use the website to post a tweet, and therefore to create a link with suggested wording.
- Advertising gets the message in front of a sympathetic (and tech-savvy) audience.
- The results aren’t visible only on Twitter; there’s an aggregator the campaign controls as well.
So what could be better? Most obviously, the aggregator doesn’t really link to Twitter as well as it could (“it seems to move up a number every time someone clicks on the machine, , not necessarily every time they tweet”), so not everyone who retweets the message and passes it on may be counted.
This is where act.ly excels: creator Jim Gilliam explains, “You sign a petition by tweeting it, and other people can sign the petition just be re-tweeting it.” The tweet is action and word of mouth in one, and the act.ly site takes care of reporting and statistics (and tracking whether the target has responded). Definitely worth a look if you’re planning a Twitter grassroots campaign.