Can’t get through? Tweet it!

March 21, 2011
by Mary Peterson, Global Grassroots Associate for Expansion

Last week, our very own Grassroots Campaign Associate Lisa Marchal was watching a call-in news program on TV. The commentators were talking about how much the U.S. spends  every year on foreign aid. Normally, coverage of this topic is welcomed, but the commentators had the numbers wrong! Lisa tried calling 54 times during the course of the program and could not get through. When she realized that the lines were likely to remain jammed, she logged into her Twitter account. After she composed a 140 character  retort, Lisa tweeted at the program. About 10 seconds later, they read her reply on air. No one argued with her or misinterpreted her words — her statement was read and they moved on.

This example shows how we can use twitter in our advocacy. When the phone lines are busy, and no one seems to be responding, reaching out to someone through an  unconventional channel can get attention.

Here are several things you should know to use Twitter:

1) You should address your tweets by using the “@” sign and then write the Twitter name of the person or organization you are addressing. For instance, if you wanted to tweet me, you would start your tweet with “@maryeliza.” You can tweet at multiple people at once.

2) Be concise! Remember Twitter  only allows 140 characters. Keep what you want to convey, short, sweet, and to the point. If you are tweeting a news program, as Lisa was, make sure the tweet is a good sound bite!

3) Many members of Congress have Twitter accounts that you should utilize if you are tweeting. If you are tweeting at people, organizations, or programs include your congressperson’s Twitter name if you have the character space (check their websites). Tweeting them is another way to show your congressperson that you are aware and these issues are important. Tweeting is a great new layer to add to meeting, calling, and writing them.

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