Our ‘How To’ series is developed to help start/develop your justice and peace group and are all available on the resources page.
7. How to use social media
Social media – particularly Facebook, Twitter and Youtube – can be a fantastic tool for justice, peace and ecology work. NJPN and partners tend to be active on Facebook and Twitter.
- The emergence of Internet-based social media has made it possible for one person or group to communicate with hundreds or even thousands of other people about campaigns and events speedily and simultaneously.
- They provide networking platforms, using blogs, social media tools, and promotional tools to engage like-minded people. The interactive nature of social media helps with relationship building.
- Young people are very active in social media so it is a great way to reach them.
- Petitions and campaigning initiatives can be circulated very quickly and cheaply.
- Social media is very democratic and gives access to new movements and networks that cannot get coverage on mainstream media.
- Social media gives good access to new thinking about such issues as peacebuilding, sustainable development, tackling Climate Change, free trade treaties.
What is Twitter?
Twitter is a special kind of social networking site found at www.twitter.com. Its fame is due to its ability to facilitate a conversation in 140 characters or less. And people can very easily follow the “tweets,” or conversation on their mobile devices even when they are not near a computer. Terms can be placed with hashtags which are symbolized by the # sign and allows the viewing of all tweets on a specific subject. Tweets can have links to draw people to websites and to further information. Live events can be followed or advertised on twitter and retweets link to interesting articles and campaigns.
Why use it?
Because it is so easy to get information out to a group of people that care about what we have to say. Twitter has become the fastest growing social networking site because it is interactive and easy to use. A recent study found that 45-54 year olds are 36 percent more likely to visit Twitter and represent the largest group visiting the site; this group is followed by 25-34 year olds, who are 30 percent more likely to visit.
Twitter is a great way to supplement online and offline efforts to reach out to new people and is a great tool for attracting new supporters and gets the message out virally.
However, Twitter isn’t necessarily the next greatest way to raise money.
- Follow as many people as you can on Twitter that are relevant to Justice and Peace work. If you follow them, they may follow you.
- Be interesting and original in what you are tweeting, but not obscure.
- Try and be relevant to people’s interests, and a little humour goes a long way.
- Put a link to your Twitter site on your main website as you would with all of the other social networking tools that you are using.
- Tweet about anything that you wouldn’t want published on the front page of a newspaper.
- Tweet just for the sake of tweeting – have points to make.
Facebook has been a transformative creative force in advertising campaigns and is very useful for Justice and Peace work. It invites people to engage in conversation through sharing, liking and placing comments. Some of the world’s most successful campaigns are very active on Facebook eg. 350 degrees. Facebook is also very useful for sharing images.