February 2009

#p2: statistics, with a gender perspective

#p2 logoI wanted to expand on my remark in yesterday’s post about the gender ratio on #p2 staying “relatively well-balanced” with some statistics from the 24 hours ending at noon (Pacific time) today.  While this is only one data point — and over a weekend, too — it’s roughly in line with the other measurements I’ve been makingover the last week.

For about 80-90% of the people participating, it’s possible to able to infer the like gender of the tweeter based on self-descriptions (“mom” or “dad” for example), visual information, name, and so on.  Of course there’s room for error here,* so don’t treat this as gospel; and my apologies to anybody I inadvertently misclassified. Still, it’s enough to get some useful information.

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#p2 on Twitter: some thoughts after the first week

#p2 logo

#p2 Twitterchat Monday (2/23), 6:30 PM Pacific/9:30 PM Eastern.  Tentative agenda here.  Feedback, please … and hope to see you then!

It’s been an encouraging first week for the new #p2 Twitter hashtag that Tracy Viselli and I proposed in The Exception last Friday.  Usage has steadily increased (more people, more tweets), especially after Sarah Granger’s #p2 Takes on the Progressive Twitter Challenge in techPresident on Monday.  The quality of information is generally very high, the gender ratio has stayed fairly well-balanced, and their have been lots of posts on race, lgbtq, an women’s issues.

We even have two of the candidates in the Democratic primary for Rahm Emmanuel IL-05 Congressional seat using it, with both @Quigley_Campaign and @Tom_Geoghan highlighting their progressive credentials.  A promising start!

Also, we set up a Wetpaint wiki last weekend, and while much of which is still in skeletal form, several people have already told me they’ve found the page discussing Twitter useful.   It’s got getting started and accessibility information, including a link to Dennis Lembrée’s Accessible Twitter; and a list of hashtags that are potentially useful for progressives.  Check it out at http://p2pt0.wetpaint.com/page/Twitter — and as always, feedback welcome.

Of course, there are unsurprisingly some growing pains as well.

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Dealing with trolls on Twitter: #p2, #tcot, #topprog, #bipart, and a magic search query

the freemont troll, photographed by Thom WatsonOne of the challanges with using Twitter for activism is one that’s all too familiar to anybody who’s spent time online: dealing with trolls and other disruptions.*  Twitter hashtags are completely open, so anybody can post on them, which means we frequently see tweets like:

I should also state that some sissy liberal might find me MEAN spirited and rough but they usually like it .. #p2 #rebellft # …

Thanks for sharing, dude.

Of course an occasional tweet like this isn’t a big deal; they’re easy enough to ignore.  The bigger problem is with posts that lead to heated debates that cause so much traffic everything else gets lost.  Last night, for example, one person wound up accounting for over 75% of the traffic on #p2 (counting his tweets and others responses to him).  When this happens, people start to tune out — and based on research from Susan Herring and others, women in particular are far less likely to participate.

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Facebook reverts to previous TOS. A win for social network activism!

With over 90,000 members in the protest group on Facebook, EPIC (the Electronic Privacy Information Center) and other privacy organizations filing a complaint readying a complaint to file with the FTC, over 750 articles, and headlines like Facebook seems to have a trust problem, it’s not too surprising that Facebook decided to rethink their stance on the Terms of Service changes.

And sure enough, from Mark Zuckerberg’s Update on terms late last night:

Going forward, we’ve decided to take a new approach towards developing our terms. We concluded that returning to our previous terms was the right thing for now….

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Zuckerberg: “we wouldn’t share your information in a way you wouldn’t want.” Oh really?

Mark Zuckerberg has a comment up on the Facebook blog in response to the firestorm about their new terms of service:

Our philosophy is that people own their information and control who they share it with. When a person shares information on Facebook, they first need to grant Facebook a license to use that information so that we can show it to the other people they’ve asked us to share it with. Without this license, we couldn’t help people share that information.

He then goes through the simple scenario of a user sending messages and then deleting his or her account.  Should the messages disappear?  Mark says no, and notes that this is also how email works.   Of course this doesn’t have much to do with the reasons why people are upset — what about photos, for example?  What about Facebook reserving the right to sub-license, i.e. profit from, the content that’s been deleted?  Hmm.

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Facebook: all your content are belong to us. FOREVER! Protests ensue.

Facebook’s terms of service (TOS) used to say that when you closed an account on their network, any rights they claimed to the original content you uploaded would expire. Not anymore.

Chris Walters in The Consumerist

And people aren’t happy about it.  Anne Kathrine Yojana Petterøe’s People Against the new Terms of Service (TOS) protest group had about 900 members when I joined at 7:30.  By the time I posted this at 9:30 it was over 1650, which puts the growth rate at an astonishing 35%+ per hour.  After inviting another 50+ people on Facebook and retweeting, I sent mail to some colleagues encouraging them to check it out:

If you haven’t been tracking social network activism campaigns, this could be an intersting one.  The “call to action” in the protest group is very crisp; and it’s a great example of a campaign crossing social networks.

A Twitter search for “TOS” is a good way to follow the discussion; the Twitter #facebook hashtag is hopping as well.  Both have been in the top 10 trending topics on Twitter all morning, with TOS currently at #2.

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Notes from underground: Love and Devotion — and social network activism on Valentine’s Day

rastialiens flyer

Last week’s Psylebration, rescheduled after permitting problems, debuted the cool new Sera Phi Healing Center.  Tonight, it’s Rastaliens — psychedelic trance from Switzerland!

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The #p2 Hashtag and Strategies for Progressives on Twitter

Originally published on The Exception

Co-written with Tracy Viselli. Previous draft here.

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Feedback, please on draft recommendations: how progressives can use Twitter strategically

Tracy Viselli and I are working on an article for The Exception on how progressives can use Twitter.  Here’s our current thinking on recommendations:

  1. progressives should get good at Twitter best practices: insiders providing information regularly, backchannels at conferences and workshops, regular Twitter-based chats by organizations and bloggers, contact lists and skills pitching to journalists who prefer Twitter, etc.
  2. activists need to refine techniques for Twitter-based “flash actions” (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6).  Social computing technologies are tools; we need to learn to use them effectively.
  3. Twitter can be a medium for progressives to engage online with communities currently marginalized by the “progressive blogosphere”.  Shared vocabulary and hashtag structure, and respect for different norms in different hashtags, can help.
  4. we should reach out to conservatives, libertarians, and greens to explore ways to engage more constructively

The full article will of course go into detail on the thinking and experiences that lead to the recommendations.

Any feedback?  Suggestions for improvements, related experiences, criticisms, ideas about how to make this happen — it’s all good.  Please don’t be shy!  We’ll do our best to incorporate the feedback in the final draft.

Thanks much!

jon

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Get FISA Right to meet with Sen. Feingold! (maybe) Help wanted.

One of our topics Saturday’s conference call (notes here) was how to make contact with our allies in congress.  Jean from Green Bay mentioned that she and a couple of other people were going to go to one of Senator Russ Feingold’s upcoming Listening Meeting in Wisconsin.

The first opportunity is this Saturday on Valentine’s day (February 14) at a Listening Meeting in Chilton, events in Madison and potentially Milwaukee on March 1, a cable advertising opportunity in Green Bay on March 4, and more.  To keep track of it all, we’re going to use a wiki page as the planning hub for this.

Here’s the current versions of our goals for the project:

  • get a better understanding of the situation in Congress and Senator Feingold’s strategy
  • get Sen Feingold to make a video on “what it means to get FISA right”
  • introduce ourselves to Senator Feingold and get a working relationship in place
  • pilot techniques that we can use as part of a 50-state strategy
  • get blog and media attention, at least at the local and state level, and hopefully nationally as well

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#digg it!: initial experimental results — and let’s try it again!

please digg, retweet, and follow on twitter

Update, 2:30 PM: please also digg and retweet the Nordstrom action alert

Update 4:30 PM: Jen Nedeau’s Can social media save the day? has more

Human Folly's tweet

Last Friday’s #Digg it! A proposal for women of color, feminists, and progressives on Twitter experiment went remarkably well for a first attempt.  Here’s the data.

Two of the for posts sent to Twitter with a #digg tag got significant retweeting.  While it’s hard to know for sure, looking at the names of the diggers it seems that we were also getting some additional diggs via Twitter.  The table below also includes the total number of diggs as of 3 PM Pacific time on Friday

Post tweets total diggs from Twitter
(estimate)
Don’t Divorce Me 8 30 6-10
#digg it 5 28 5-8
Lilly Ledbetter 1 22 1-3
NO on Collins-Nelson 2 6 1-3

Eight retweets may not sound like a lot, But looking at it differently, those 8 retweets reached over 700 followers plus however many people are following the #topprog, #lgbt, and #jti* channels — and had a measurable impact on digg results.  According to retweetist popular URLs get retweeted by over 100 people in a 24 hour period so there’s clearly significant upside here.  And of course there are lessons about how to do it better.

digg logo

Like I say, great results for a first attempt.

So let’s try it again!  Please digg and retweet.

And please also digg at least one of the first posts (1, 2, 3, 4).  While it’s too late to get any of them on to digg’s front page, this is still a very useful way of tracking how far this discussion has spread.  Thanks!

To follow along on Twitter, using the new improved magic incantation.*

Additional discussion, and a little more data, below the fold.

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How progressives can use Twitter: a strategic perspective (DRAFT)

DRAFT, CURRENTLY BEING REVISED SUBSTANTIALLY.   New recommendations here.  Thanks all for the feedback!

Final version to appear in The Exception.

Collaboratively authored with Tracy Viselli.

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