#mooreandme and #p2: learnings for progressives on Twitter (REVISED DRAFT)

Draft, work in progress. Feedback welcome!

Last updated February 5.

#p2 logo

Twitter is an opportunity to engage with communities currently marginalized by the “progressive blogosphere”. Demographically and stylisticly, Twitter is far less male-dominated than the big blogs of the progressive blogosphere …

— Tracy Viselli and Jon Pincus, The #p2 Hashtag and Strategies for Progressives on Twitter, February 2009

Twitter is, quite possibly, the best available medium for this particular kind of protest. The format has a number of features that level a playing field that tends to push women into the outfield.

How #Mooreandme Worked, Lili Loofbourow, December 2010

Twitter was an instinctive choice for #MooreandMe, because it made the target of the protest accessible and ensured that he could hear us. But I liked it as a medium for #DearJohn too, because it was really equalizing, it wasn’t hierarchical, it ensured that voices and perspectives could influence the conversation regardless of how well-connected or well-known they were, and it was a very visible, trackable way to register dissent.

– Sady Doyle of Tiger Beatdown, interviewed in where is your line?, January 2011

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#p2 and prioritizing diversity: background reading for Thursday’s tweeting

#p2 tweeting* Thursday April 30

7-8PM Pacific/10-11PM Eastern
Draft agenda and discussion here
Please join us!

#p2 logoTwitter is an opportunity to engage with communities currently marginalized by the “progressive blogosphere”

— Tracy Viselli and Jon Pincus, The #p2 Hashtag and Strategies for Progressives on Twitter on The Exception

#p2 is a resource for progressives who prioritize diversity and empowerment

— #p2’s wiki and Twitter profile

Because #p2 (aka “progressives 2.0”) is the closest thing to a broad communication mechanism for progressives on Twitter so far, I’m not sure how many people realize that the primary focus is on diversity. So here’s some background reading about #p2 for Thursday’s tweeting  on how progressives can organize more effectively on Twitter.

Let’s start with a question that I think doesn’t get asked enough.

Do progressives care about diversity?

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Twitter *is* a strategy (UPDATED draft)

DRAFT!  Work in progress.  Feedback welcome!

Update, April 27: This thread sparked and tied in with substantial discussion elsewhere — see the bottom of the main post for additional links.  I developed my thoughts in Cognitive evolution and revolution, which I presented at Politics Online; the blog post and comments also document a couple of successful examples of Twitter as a strategy for diversity in male-, white- and elitist-dominated environments. I wonder why it’s so hard for some people to accept that (1) I know what strategy is, (2) I’ve been treating Twitter as a strategy, and (3) it’s working?

Update, April 2017: This has held up pretty well!  I fixed some typos and links


Too often, Twitter is the enemy of complex thought, not its friend — if you’re on Twitter yourself, look at your last few weeks’ posts and see what fraction of your potential mental capability they actually express. Probably not much: that’s not what the tool is good for.

— Colin Delany in Twitter is not a strategy on e.Politics and techPresident

Yeap – Twitter is NOT a Strategy | http://ow.ly/1vIN

— @IsCool, on Twitter

Help me make #CA10 the next skittles. We can do this. #gov20 #opengov #p2
Adriel Hampton on Twitter

Somebody’s missing what’s going on here and I don’t think it’s Adriel.

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#pxfridays, TweetLeft and #followfriday: connecting progressives on Twitter

twitter logoIn Strategies for progressives on Twitter, Tracy Viselli and I talked about the importance of tools and techniques for flash actions on Twitter.  Conservatives have been organizing longer and have the early lead, but I think progressives and bipartisans are starting to catch up.

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How to promote “Ask the President” on Twitter

Ask the President launches Thursday

Ask the President‘s site is up and running!  The idea’s simple: people can submit questions and vote on which ones they’d like to see answered at a White House press conference.  Ari Melber’s The People’s Press Conference in The Nation has details; other partners include the Washington Times and Personal Democracy Forum.

If you think it’s a good idea, here are a few ways you can hep get the word out on Twitter.

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Launching “Ask The President” on Twitter

Original draft March 16.  Revised March 19.

The genesis of Ask the President

“Net movement” journalist/activist Ari Melber’s latest brainstorm, Ask the President, is launching on March 19 at http://www.communitycounts.com/Obama.   The basic idea is to provide a followon to Change.gov’s short-lived Open for Questions series [1, 2]: a way for people to submit potential questions and vote on what they think the best ones are.  It’s an intriguing idea, with the possibility of providing a path around the media gatekeepers who have historically controlled access.

Here are some thoughts about how Tweeple (people on Twitter) who support the idea can help with Ask the President‘s launch.

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#digg it, continued: more Twitter/digg experimental results

digg logoThe great thing about the #digg it experiment (trying to use Twitter to increase visibility for progressives, feminists, and women of color on Digg), is that it’s so easy to explain to people*:

  1. if you’ve got a story you’re trying to promote on Digg, include the #digg hashtag when you tweet it, and at least one of #p2, #rebelleft, #topprog, #fem2, or #woc
  2. if you see something with the #digg hashtag, digg it if you think it’s interesting — and retweet it as well

The first round of experiments a few weeks ago went very well.  So last Friday we decided to try again, sending mail to a couple of progressive mailing lists encouraging people to digg and retweet.  Once again, the results were great.

Over 20 people have participated so far, and a total of 15 stories got tweeted with #digg and at least one of the progressive hashtags — most aggressively by Twitter user @diggleft.  Of these, give got at least one retweet.

Post tweets total
followers
diggs
Obama preferred to Reagan 16 7644 167
College grads’ economic woes
9 5350 18
Feingold and FISA 3 1282 63
Iranian women to be stoned 2 1124 51
Kansas redistricting
2 2101 0

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#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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