Mr President, do you like Skittles? (DRAFT!!!!)

why talk about skittles

The first installment of Lessons from Skittles for poets and activists briefly described how Skittles’ Twitter-centric viral marketing campaign caught fire and concluded that one lesson is that activists without a lot of time or money should seriously consider incorporating Twitter in their plans.   That’s a pretty general conclusion.  So our next two installments will look at two case-studies in progress.  You can watch them unfold as they’re happening, or even better get involved and learn by doing.

This weekend we’ll cover Ask the President, which offers poets and activists a chance to propose and vote on questions for White House press conferences.  As Ari Melber discussed in The People’s Press Conference, Ask the President — #askpres for short — will need to create buzz to have a chance at getting their questions asked and answered.  Activists also need to create buzz to help get their questions voted up.

The following weekend, we’ll discuss 30 Poets / 30 Days, a project for National Poetry Month in April 1 being organized by my brother, Gregory K of Gottabook.  Three years ago, Greg’s blog post about “Fibs” (Fibonacci Poetry) went viral and got picked up by the mighty Slashdot and then the New York Times.   Will lightning strike twice?

Ask the President

With a press conference scheduled for tonight at 8 PM Eastern, Ask the President is in high gear: the more buzz today, the more likely it is that one of the questions might be asked.  So it’s a great opportunity to follow along and see what Twitter activism looks like.   A few suggestions:

  • if you’re into progressive politics and diversity, follow the discussions on the #p2 hashtag about the project
  • if you’re into the Constitution and the rule of law, check out what Get FISA Right is up to
  • to see everything that’s happening on #askpres, use TweetLeft (you can choose from askpres or a bunch of other tags) or twitter search

Don’t just follow along passively … get involved!  When you see somebody tweet about a question

  • if there’s a question you’re promoting, tweet about it
  • reply on for why you think the questions are good or bad
  • And don’t forget to vote!  It’s ridiculously easy: just click on the green thumbs-up button if you think this is a good question to cover at the press conference, or the red thumbs-down if you think it’s bad.   You don’t even have to log in.

It’s an interesting experiment in activism, and potentially even a chance to influence the media.  How cool is that?


Skittles photo from ambibambie39507’s flickr page,
licensed under Creative Commons

Jon Pincus is a strategist, writer, and activist living in the Seattle area, currently working with Deborah Pierce and his brother Greg on Tales from the Net, a book on social networks.  As well as being an co-founder with Tracy Viselli of the #p2 (“progressives2.0”) Twitter hashtag and an organizer for the Voter Suppression Wiki and Get FISA Right , he’s vice-chair for online visibility for the 2009 ACM Computers, Freedom, and Privacy conference. He blogs about these and other topics at Liminal States and elsewhere.