Michael Crawford

Why LGBT groups need to get with the social media revolution

Filed By Michael Crawford | August 28, 2009 12:30 PM | comments

Filed in: Media, The Movement

I've had conversations with more than a few LGBT activists who don't understand how the social media revolution is changing the way we communicate and share ideas and information. And, the implications that these rapid changes will have on the way we should be organizing.

Here's why they should:

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YES! Michael! Perfect! This is precisely what I want to study more... well, rather, how we can EFFICIENTLY and EFFECTIVELY use social media to inform, compel and then MOBILIZE potential activists! We ought to discuss this more!

I'm glad you found this slideshow as powerful as I did. Social media isn't the end all be all of organizing. It's simply a tool-- but it's one helluva powerful and effective tool. If our movement fails to harness the energy and power of social media to reach our goals, we're destined to be left lagging behind history.

We must create the change we wish to see, and in the new age of twitter/facebook/ning/ustream/livestream/youtube/podcasting/blogging and EVERYTHING else, we must harness this energy to mobilize both on- and off-line.

A very important video, Michael, though it appears to be a book ad, and I don't think the social media revolution is as imminent as the ad claims.

Nonetheless, I have been using social media to generate on-the-ground support for ENDA, and what it has allowed me to accomplish is surprising. As one person, sitting in my living room my pajamas, I have been able to generate 4500 supporters, and an estimated 50-100 contacts daily to Congress for our legislator of the day. A modest accomplishment, but far more than I could have hoped for otherwise.

However, there is a steep learning curve because effectiveness in social media has certain requirements that are not immediately obvious. For example, very few people called their Congressmember when I sent them an email asking them to call. But targeted content that triggers people's interest has generated those calls. As a result, there is a large time cost because new targeted content must be constantly and consistently generated and distributed to various parts of the social media machine in the right places and proportions.

Social media is like a huge cave filled with people in various nooks and crannies. You can reach thousands with a mere shout, but no one takes action unless the message moves them, but the longer the message, the less interest it generates and the more danger that it will be garbled. Even a long series of loud shouts dies out in a moment, and is quickly covered by the shouts of others. If you can get others to shout in unison, it helps a lot, but your message must carefully crafted or it quickly becomes meaningless noise.

Dr. Weiss,

Your effort has not been for naught. I'm extremely impressed with all of the work you've put into this, and our entire community owes you a debt of gratitude of the highest magnitude. IMHO, I think YOU'RE organizing the REAL lasting revolution of this fall (no offense, DC marchers). And I hope its not been completely thankless, because the work that you've put into this campaign has been obvious. Perhaps I should have done it sooner, but I wanted you to know that I am EXTREMELY grateful to you for your work and--though I don't get to make a phonecall EVERY DAY--I try to help out the best I can by forwarding on the legislator of the day to my twitter and facebook friends on all of my accounts, as well as list it prominently in my little blog whenever I get to a 'roundup.'

You ROCK and you may just rock HARDER than most LGBT leaders I normally say rock!