Digital Activism Tactics: TweetStorms Reviewed

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In late 2010, digital activists on Twitter began experimenting with a new form of protest, the “TweetStorm.” I updated this from my old post because there have been a few changes to Twitter, and both Facebook and Google+ have now adopted hashtags, making this an even more attractive concept. Where you read “tweet” below, take that to include status updates on FaceBook, Twitter, and elsewhere.

What is a TweetStorm?

It’s a coordinated action by many users to tweet about a single issue at the same time, generating a “storm” of tweets.

How does it work?

Anyone can call for a TweetStorm, you just need to decide:

  1. What will be in the tweet[s] (the text and what hashtags, any special user to target, eg @whitehouse – but use extreme restraint, or risk alienating* a user who can help!

    TIP: Choose a new, unique hashtag, but everyone has to keep it secret until right before the event

  2. What time it has to be sent (essential to choose a time you know lots of supporters are usually online)

    TIP: Create an online event that people can sign up for, or make a one-off campaign on thunderclap.it

What next?

  • You have to tell people about the TweetStorm, and ask them to get involved by supporting it by sending out a tweet or setting up a scheduled tweet (see below) and by spreading the idea to their followers!

    TIP:  Contact your most active followers  privately, to ask if they will take part and help to recruit others

  • Then, you all either keep the TweetStorm text somewhere handy (Facebook event, blog post, pastebin, etc) and tweet at the appointed time, or schedule the tweets to go out at the set time.

How do I schedule a tweet?

TweetDeck includes a schedule tweet feature, and there are some scheduling services available through mobile or online applications, such as Buffer or Hootsuite.

How do I know what time to send the tweet if I am in a different time zone?

Check times in various time zones here: http://www.worldtimeserver.com/ or here: http://www.worldtimezones.com/

And that is about all there is to it.

TIP: If you plan to use TweetStorms as an ongoing tactic, keep some stats, give people feedback, and THANK THEM for taking part

Summary

  1. Write the tweet(s) and/or choose a unique hashtag and pick some optional @username(s) to target
  2. Recruit your friends using DM, email, FaceBook, Twitter, Google+ etc. Coach them if necessary
  3. Remember to set up your schedule if you need to
  4. Pass the information along – you may want to warn your followers
  5. Post increasingly frequent reminders as the time approaches, but keep the new hashtag secret

Are TweetStorms Effective?

tweet-in-a-bottleEarly analysis indicated that TweetStorms were highly effective. Whether that was the result of serendipity or serious effort remained to be proven in those early days. With the benefit of hindsight we can see that Twitter changed their Terms of Service so that sending “unsolicited” tweets, or using certain hashtags, could get your account suspended. Added to that, as Twitter grew and the user interface changed, many people found it increasingly difficult to maintain the level of close, co-operative contact with their network, which a TweetStorm depends on to be successful.

However, we can say:

  1. TweetStorms do work, and only thanks to the coordinated actions of concerned individuals.
  2. TweetStorms are not necessarily successful in isolation; they are an important adjunct to the conversations, petitions, emails, letters and postcards and other campaign actions.
  3. On Twitter, it is now very difficult to target Trending Topics, so targeted TweetStorms are a good alternative to trending.
  4. They the draw attention of other users, which can help strengthen a cause.
  5. TweetStorms are NOT spam. Spam is useless or irrelevant information sent to random or unrelated targets.
  6. TweetStorms are not meant as entertainment, rather as serious activism for spreading awareness, but you can make them fun, too. They are designed to attract attention from all corners, not only “@UN” or “@StateDept” for example.
  7. TweetStorms show allies the cause remains strong.
  8. They also show potential enemies that supporters of the cause are united. Maintaining secrecy of the tag and targets to the last minute also catches opponents by surprise, robbing them of the chance to spoil your plan.
  9. TweetStorms are democratic in nature: anyone can choose the message, who it targets, and when.
  10. TweetStorms are relatively easy – with potential high returns for minimal effort and zero outlay

Last Word

As activists, it is important to not only take part in TweetStorms, but to actively encourage others to join. Activism doesn’t stop at the ‘send’ button.

* Aside: When I started TweetStorms, to draw attention to human rights issues in Iran, Amnesty International was a target for more than one campaign. They were not at all happy to see their timeline flooded with our messages (there was no “mentions” column on Twitter back then) and blocked my account. Later, they began using the TweetStorm tactic themselves! And no, they didn’t unblock my account.

The original guides to the TweetStorm idea in several languages are available on these links:

TweetStorm-Arabic

TweetStorm-China

TweetStorm-Deutsch

TweetStorm-English

TweetStorm-Español

TweetStorm-Française

TweetStorm-Farsi

TweetStorm-Italia

TweetStorm-Japan

TweetStorm-Nederland

TweetStorm-Portugal

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Digital Activism Tactics: TweetStorms Revisited

Standard

In late 2010, digital activists on Twitter began experimenting with a new form of protest, the “TweetStorm”. I updated this from my old post in case others want to give it a try.

What is a TweetStorm?

It’s a coordinated action by many users to tweet about a single issue at the same time, generating a “storm” of tweets

How does it work?

Anyone can call for a TweetStorm, you just need to decide:

  1. What will be in the tweet[s] (the text and what hashtags, any special user to target, eg @whitehouse – but use extreme restraint, or risk alienating* a user who can help! TIP: Choose a new, unique hashtag, but everyone has to keep it secret
    until right before the event
  2. What time it has to be sent (essential to choose a time you know lots of supporters are usually online)  TIP: Create an online event that people can sign up for

What next?

  • You have to tell people about the TweetStorm, and ask them to get involved by supporting it (sending out a tweet or setting up a scheduled tweet – see below) and by spreading the idea to their followers! TIP: Send polite DMs to ask your most active followers if they will take part and help to recruit others
  • Then, you all either keep the TweetStorm text somewhere handy and tweet at the appointed time, or schedule the tweets to go out at the set time.

How do I schedule a tweet?

TweetDeck includes a schedule tweet feature, and there are several free scheduling services available online. See this article: How to Schedule Tweets for details and links to various sevices.

How do I know what time to send the tweet if I am in a different time zone?

Check times in various time zones here: http://www.worldtimeserver.com/ or here: http://www.worldtimezones.com/

And that is all there is to it.

Summary

  1. Write the tweet(s) with a unique tag and optional @username(s)
  2. Recruit your friends using DM, email, FaceBook, etc
  3. Remember to set up your schedule if you need to
  4. Pass the information along – you may want to warn your followers
  5. Post increasingly frequent reminders as the time approaches, but keep the new hashtag secret

Are TweetStorms Effective? 

Early analysis indicated that TweetStorms were highly effective. Whether that was the result of serendipity or serious effort remained to be proven in those early days. With the benefit of hindsight we can say that what did happen was, Twitter changed their Terms of Service so that sending “unsoliticited” tweets or using certain hashtags could get your account suspended. Added to that, as Twitter grew, and as the user interface changed, many people found it increasingly difficult to maintain the level of close cooperative contact with their network that a TweetStorm depends on to be successful. However, we can say:

  1. TweetStorms work, only thanks to the coordinated actions of concerned individuals.
  2. TweetStorms are not necessarily successful in isolation; they are an important adjunct to the petitions, emails, letters and postcards being sent out under various other campaigns.
  3. On Twitter, it is now very difficult to target Trending Topics, so targetted TweetStorms are a good alternative to trending.
  4. They the draw attention of other users, which can only help strengthen a cause.
  5. TweetStorms are NOT spam. Spam is useless or irrelevant information sent to random or unrelated targets.
  6. TweetStorms are not entertainment, they are serious activism spreading awareness. They are designed to attract attention from all corners, not only “UN” or “State Dept” for example.
  7. TweetStorms show allies the cause remains strong.
  8. They also show potential enemies that supporters of the cause are united.
  9. TweetStorms are democratic in nature: Anyone can have a say in what is said, who it targets, and when.
  10. TweetStorms are relatively easy – with potential high returns for minimal effort and zero outlay

Last Word

As activists, it is important to not only take part in TweetStorms, but to actively encourage others to join. Activism doesn’t stop at the ‘send’ button.

* Aside: When I started TweetStorms, to draw attention to human rights issues in Iran, Amnesty International was a target for more than one campaign. They were not at all happy to see their timeline flooded with our messages (there was no mentions column back then) and blocked my account. Later, they began using the TweetStorm tactic themselves! And no, they didn’t unblock my account.

Digital Activism Tactics: TweetStorms – تويتستورم (Arabic Translation by @RamyRaooff)

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30 أكتوبر 2010

من تكتيكات النشاط الرقمي: تويتستورم

 

 

في الشهور الماضية قام النشطاء علي مجتمع الويب بتجربة وسيلة جديدة من وسائل الاحتجاج والضغط وهي وسيلة التويتستورم. تويتستورم كلمة بالإنجليزية مركبة من كلمة تويت (تستخدم لوصف الرسائل على موقع التدوين المُصغر تويتر) وكلمة ستورم (وتعني عاصفة).

ما هو التويتستورم؟
هو عبارة عن تحرك مٌنظم بين عدد من الأفراد على موقع التويتر بهدف إرسال عدد كبير من الرسائل حول موضوع مُحدد وفي وقت مُحدد، ليولّد “عاصفة” من الرسائل.

كيف أقوم بالإعداد؟
يمكن لأي فرد الدعوة لتويتستورم، كل المطلوب هو:

  1. تحديد الموضوع والمعلومات المراد نشرها من خلال الرسائل القصيرة، وتحديد وسم أو أكثر للرسائل (hash-tag). وتحديد حسابات لأفراد أو جهات على موقع التويتر لاستهدافها أثناء نشر الرسائل، مثال: الحزب الوطني الديمقراطي NDP_Egypt – البيت الأبيض WhiteHouse
  2. تحديد أفضل وقت لتنفيذ العاصفة. من الضروري اختيار موعد يتناسب مع أكبر عدد من الداعمين للفكرة.

ما الخطوة التالية؟
  1. يجب إعلام كافة المجتمعات المحيطة بك بالتويتستروم، ودعوتهم للمشاركة في خلق العاصفة بإرسال رسائل قصيرة أو إعداد رسائل مُعدة للنشر تلقائياً.
  2. تحضير الرسائل لتكون في متناول الأيدي أو إدراج الرسائل في برنامج للنشر التلقائي.

كيف أقوم بالتحضير للنشر التلقائي؟
برنامج تويت-ديك يُقدم خاصية إدراج رسائل وتحديد وقت وتاريخ لكل رسالة لنشر، ويقوم تويت-ديك في الموعد المحدد بنشر تلك الرسائل بالنيابة عنك. يوجد العديد من البرامج التي تقدم تلك خدمة، يمكن قراءة هذه المقالة (بالإنجليزية) لتعرف على مزيد من البرامج.

كيف أقوم بتحديد الوقت لنشر الرسائل إذا كنت في منطقة جغرافية مختلفة؟
في هذه الحالة عليك بالاطلاع على قائمة المواقيت للمناطق الجغرافية، يمكن القيام بذلك من خلال المواقع التالية: http://www.worldtimezones.com أو http://www.worldtimeserver.com  

مٌلخص:

  • قم بكتابة الرسائل، وتحديد الوسومات و الحسابات المستهدفة (إن أمكن).
  • قم بدعوة أصدقائك وحشد الداعمين بإرسال رسائل خاصة على التويتر والفيسبوك والبريد.
  • تذكر بأن تقوم بتحضير الرسائل للنشر التلقائي.
  • أنشر المعلومة.
  • قم بنشر تذكرة كلما أقترب الموعد المحدد للتويتستورم.

هل التويتستورم فعال؟
استخدام تكتيك التويتستورم فعال للغاية في إطار موقع التويتر، سواء تم توليد العاصفة مصادفة أو بجهد منظم. يمكن القول أن:
  1. التويتستورم ناجح في حالة التنظيم والتحضير الجيد بين الأفراد المهتمين. التويتستورم وسيلة مهمة إلي جانب المناشدات والخطابات والنداءات التي تنطلق من خلال الحملات.
  2. على موقع التويتر، يصعب على النشطاء استهداف العشر وسومات الأكثر استخداما لإثارة موضوع ما (Trending Topics)، البديل الأفضل هو تويتستورم لإثارة ذلك الموضوع.
  3. التويتستورم عمل منظم لرفع الوعي ونشر معلومات بالأساس. وهو وسيلة مفيدة لجذب انتباه مجتمعات مختلفة على موقع التويتر مثل الحكومات والسفارات والهيئات الغير حكومية، ووسيلة جيدة لإظهار عدد المتضامنين مع قضية ما.
  4. التويتستورم وسيلة ديمقراطية بطبعها، يمكن لأي فرد التعبير عن رأيه كيفما يريد.
* يمكن مطالعة المقالة الأصلية باللغة الإنجليزية لليز نآب.

电脑数字行动抗争策略: 推风暴 (TweetStorm)

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TweetStorm-China.pdf

过去的一个月来,在 FaceBook Twitter 上的积极活动人士们一直地在实验一种新的抗议型式, 叫做 推风暴(TweetStorm)”.

什么是推风暴?

那是一个由许多用户在同时间发送出同样的推, 以产生一个推的 风暴的协同呼应行动.

它如何运作?

任何人都可以号召一个推风暴, 你仅需决定:

  1. 推中要说的内容是什么 (文本和哈希标志, 以及任何诉求对象用户, 例如 @whitehouse)
  2. 发送推的必需时机 (关键在选择你知道通常有大批支持者在线的时间)

再来呢?

你必须向人们解说这个推风暴, 请他们藉以下方式积极参与: 支持它 (发送一个推或设置一个定时发送的推见下文) 和把这个主意散播给他们的追随者!

然后, 你们大家可以把推风暴的文本存放在某个取用方便的地方, 等到一定的时间发出; 或者你们可以预排所有的推的定时发送时间.

我怎么预排推的时间?

TweetDeck 包含了一个预排推时间的功能, 另外还有一些免费的在线预排推时间的服务. 详细资讯请查阅此文: 15 Free Services to Schedule Tweets on Twitter [ http://bit.ly/aWW4kS ].

如果我在不同的时区应该如何决定发送推的时间?

查看不同时区的时间

这里: http://www.worldtimeserver.com/

这里: http://www.worldtimezones.com/

该知道的就这么多了.

结论

  1. 写入推内容包含标志, @username
  2. 利用 DM, email, FaceBook 等途径网罗你的友人
  3. 记住要设置你的推的预排发送时间!
  4. 沿线传达资讯消息
  5. 于时间逼近时频加张贴提醒告示

 

推风暴有效吗?

早先的研究分析支持推风暴之高度效果的理念. 虽然它早期时的成就究竟只是偶然的意外收获或是严肃的努力结果,仍有待证实, 但是至少目前我们可以断言:

  1. 推风暴有效, 唯有需要感谢每个关心人士全力互相配合的接二连三的行动. 若单靠推风暴而已, 它并非一定成功; 它是极为重要的加力补强的一环, 必须配合在其他综合斗争下发送的请愿书, 电子邮件, 信函及明信片等, 以达其效.
  2. 目前在推特上, 运动人士已经不再能够以热门风尚话题 (Trending Topics) 做为努力目标了, 确定靶标的推风暴 (Targetted TweetStorms) 是风尚话题的最佳替代. 它能吸引别的推特用户的注意力的事实, 只会更强固我们的宗旨使命.
  3. 推风暴不是滥发的垃圾邮件. 垃圾邮件是滥发给不相干对象的无用的或无关系的资讯.
  4. 推风暴不是娱乐消息, 而是严肃的传播觉知的行动主义. 它的设计是要招徕所有地界角落的注意, 例如并非仅是 联合国 国务院而已. 推风暴可以向战友们显示我们的使命依然坚固. 也可以告示我们潜在的敌人们, 所有支持这个使命的人们乃团结一致.
  5. 推风暴具有民主的天生本质: 任何人都可以在推里说他想说的, 以他想针对的人为标靶, 和发推的时候.

后记

身为积极运动人士, 须知重要的是并非只参加推风暴行动而已, 并且须要鼓励他人加入行. 行动主义并不止于 发送(send)’ 按钮.