When one thinks of “lobbying,” power suits, briefcases, maybe a “K St.” sign, maybe even scowling politicians and news headlines come to mind. But it is probably safe to assume that the term does not stir up images of little blue birdies. Yet, increasingly, Twitter is taking center stage in lobbying efforts around the globe.
Twitter was largely credited for the favorable opinion Egyptians received during their revolt for freedom a few weeks ago; had it not been for the American public’s ability to watch the events unfold through the eyes of the citizens on Twitter, the U.S. could have easily (and probably would have) sided with the Egyptian government, as Egypt has traditionally been a key U.S. ally.
In New York, Underheard in New York is trying to bring the plight of the homeless to the forefront of people’s minds in the same way as the Egyptian people. According to their website, the self-described “Millenials” believe the best way “to help the homeless population is by helping them be better heard and understood.” To achieve this, the team of young people has armed four homeless men in the city with prepaid cell phones and Twitter accounts, encouraging them to document their struggles.
One, Danny, Tweeting as @putodanny, hopes to be reunited with his daughter through the site. Albert (@albert814) was laid off as a welder three years ago due to declining eyesight. He hopes to earn culinary certification and become a chef. His co0king test is today. Both Carlos (@jesse550) and Derrick (@awitness2011) tweet often about visiting the library to post resumes. Carlos has 26 years of experience as a paralegal and is hoping to start his own credit collection agency. Derrick wants to own a Christian entertainment facility.
They have built Twitter followings of over 3,000 each (except Carlos, who has yet to tweet). And not only are their stories being told, people are reaching out to help. Already, Danny has received an offer from a professional writer to help him pen a book.
It is impossible to deny the impact social media sites like Twitter is having on day to day activities, the influence on perspectives. Congressmen, regulatory agencies, the president are all engaging with followers on Twitter. If you have yet to embrace social media as an effective avenue to get your message heard, you are missing a world of opportunity.
For more information on social media as an effective Grassroots, Grasstops, and Coalition building platform, join us for our March 28 Lobbying Certificate Program.