NGOs and online news sources can use social media to set up a communication plan on the internet. There are various approaches to developing an influential presence on the web and many tools to choose from.
Social networking and micro-blogging programs like Twitter, Jaiku, Prownce, and Plurk allow people to blurt bits of conversation, sharing links and information swiftly. Take Twitter for instance, bird-like—rapid chirping, short, and straight to the point, it resonates with word of mouth. Just remember to keep it short: posts are limited to 140 characters, and the topic is, invariably, “what are you doing?”
Updates are displayed on the user’s profile page and delivered to other users who have signed up to receive them, called “followers.” In turn, you can select the people whose updates you want to see as well; these are the people you’re “following.”
What once started as a medium for fun and socialization is now adjusting to how users choose to use it, initiating innovative methods to communal communication, thus becoming a powerful tool for anything involving news, events, communities, and promotions.
Lebanonnews.net, a site that exports the latest news from Lebanon and the Middle East from external sources is using Twitter and Jaiku to inform users of headlines online. Lebanese internet news site Yalibnan is benefiting from Twitter to get in touch with followers. Online magazine for citizen journalists, Global Voices, is also sending Twitter updates to users. Moreover, political candidates have discovered the value of online networking and ‘twitterific’ socialization.
Barack Obama is currently following 54,763 individuals and is being followed by an approximate 52,443.
Imagine the impact of this online tool if used by politicians in Lebanon. Of course the chances of this happening anytime soon is still low. But what if everyone can become his own publicist? What if all NGOs started joining the network and becoming friends on Twitter? Information processing will absolutely change, especially in a country where NGO activism lacks sufficient media coverage.
To get a better idea on how to use Twitter in your online communication plan check out upcoming posts in the Twitter series. In the meantime, have a look at the Newbie’s Guide to Twitter.