Tracy Viselli new media strategist, entrepreneur, activist 2010-04-26T04:56:37Z WordPress admin <![CDATA[TweetProgress: Building Progressive Infrastructure on Twitter]]> 2010-04-26T04:56:37Z 2010-04-26T04:56:37Z TweetProgress is a Twitter activist project I launched with partners Jim Gilliam, Jon Pincus, and Gina Cooper. TweetProgress is a directory of progressives on Twitter meant to provide the basic infrastructure for social action on Twitter. TweetProgress aims to:

  1. To help progressives find each other and follow each other on Twitter.
  2. To encourage more progressives to use the Twitter.
  3. To provide resources, tools, and guides to help progressives improve their use of Twitter for activism.

And there is already evidence that TweetProgress is growing the progressive community on Twitter. In the first 48 hours, more than 2,000 progressives added themselves to TweetProgress including Nobel Peace Prize winner and former Vice President Al Gore, MSNBC and Air American host Rachel Maddow, and Ohio Secretary of State and Senate candidate Jennifer Brunner among others. And in the first week, many directory members saw significant follower increases. For example, since the launch of TweetProgress, I gained more than 100 followers and the ACLU organizational Twitter account gained several hundred new followers which speaks well for how important it is for progressive organizations to add themselves to TweetProgress.

While there aren’t a lot of tools built specifically for activism yet, there is no doubt there will be in the near future if the hundreds of applications already created to work with Twitter are any clue. One existing activism tool for Twitter is, a petition tool that many people have already used successfully to target workers rights in Florida, Pizza Hut sponsorship of Ringling Brothers Circus, and sexism in tech conference scheduling.


It started with a vision, or rather, a visual forwarded by Jim Gilliam, creator of, Nationbuilder, and the Twitter petition site It comes from a blog post on ReadWriteWeb about Twitter use during the Iran election: “Evolution of a Revolution: Visualizing Millions of Iran Tweets” by Kovas Boguta.

See the big blue blob on the right? That is the conservative twittersphere or as Boguta describes it: “tightly interwoven conservative twittersphere.” No where on that visualization do you see progressives and that should be troubling to progressive activists.

If progressives are going to maintain their dominance online, we have to be present everywhere, especially in powerful new social media spaces like Twitter. We’ve seen what early investment in the blogosphere got us, and what lack of investment got the right. We have to continue investing in and organizing on new technologies so that we remain ahead of the curve.

What does the graph indicate?

The nodes and connections indicate the use of hashtags. The big blue blob represents the hashtag #tcot (top conservatives on twitter) which is used an average of 2,000 times per day. Before the launch of TweetProgress, the corresponding progressive hashtag #p2 (progressives 2.0) was used an average of 400 times per day (estimates based on searches).

That a tag is used more often than another does not prove in any meaningful way that conservatives are more organized on Twitter than progressives, but those numbers do mean something. Twitter is being used to influence media, to create and establish messaging, to connect distributed groups, and to create communication infrastructure and progressives are failing to take advantage of the opportunities Twitter creates for political activism.

Our goal is to create a more dominant progressive infrastructure on Twitter for the left.

Why are hashtags important?

Hashtags are important because they allow other Twitter users – not only the people who directly follow you, but also elected officials, the media, activists and others who influence policy and conventional wisdom – to identify and categorize posts of specific interest.

Building a community around the #p2 hashtag provides an infrastructure for promoting progressive ideals and actions items.

Twitter is not the be all end all of online activism, but it is an online platform progressives need to make sure we own in the very near future. Drafting more progressives into an existing infrastructure, like the #p2 hashtag, will be the key to more successful actions and issue campaigns. We must increase our organizational efforts On Twitter to take advantage of the unique opportunities it offers. TweetProgress and the community that has sprung up around the #p2 hashtag is where progressives can begin to do that.

So even if you aren’t already on Twitter, we want you to join and add yourself to TweetProgress. And if you are already on Twitter, add yourself to TweetProgress and network with other progressives–grow your progressive network and help the progressive community grow in general.

admin <![CDATA[Twitter Hashtags Built for Speed]]> 2010-04-26T04:54:20Z 2010-04-26T04:54:20Z twitter_logoI’ve been thinking a lot about the best ways to social and political movements on Twitter lately. Organizing on Twitter centers around the use of hashtags, and I’ve detailed my latest example of organizing around hashtags in my post “#taxcuts: Creating Twitter Hashtags that Inspire Action.” Soon after, Jon Pincus and I began working on recommendations for how progressives can use the hashtag #p2 and Twitter in a way that facilitates action on and offline as documented in “The #p2 Hashtag and Strategies for Progressives on Twitter.” I hope you’ll read our recommendations and tell us what you think. It would be a big mistake for us to ignore the potential Twitter has for online organizing.

admin <![CDATA[Twitter Vote Report and Voter Suppression Wiki]]> 2010-04-26T04:51:30Z 2010-04-26T04:51:30Z I’m working on two fantastic voter projects right now that you should know about.

The Voter Suppression Wiki serves as a directory of information on how to protect your own vote, as well as the votes of others, during this election season. The Voter Suppression Wiki is a repository of voter suppression information created by, in true wiki fashion–YOU. The wiki publishes action alerts, information on ways you can protect your vote, an incident tracker so you can see what’s going on across the nation, upcoming guides for the media and bloggers, and a planning and strategy section that outlines how anyone can get involved.

Twitter Vote Report is asking you to Twitter your vote and Twitter the votes of others so that data can be collected and analyzed in new and different ways. The project is working with some great partners like Common Cause, Rock the Vote, Video the Vote, and many others.

From the front page:

On November 4th 2008, millions of Americans will go to over 200,000 distinct voting locations and using different systems and machinery to vote. Some voters will have a terrific experiences, and others will experience the same problems we have been hearing about for years – long lines, broken machines, inaccurate voting rolls, and others will experience problems that we haven’t heard about before. Using either, iPhone, direct SMS, or our telephone hotlines, voters will have a new way to share these experiences with one another and ensure that the media and watchdog groups are aware of any problems.

As news outlets and blogs will report on Election Day stories, we are building an invaluable resource for thousands of voters to get immediate help. From questions like “where do I vote” or “how do I make sure that my rights are being upheld,” Twitter Voter Report augments these efforts by providing a new way for voters to send text messages (aka tweets) via cellphones or computers which will be aggregated and mapped so that everyone can see the Nation’s voting problems in real-time.

Imagine a nationwide web map with pins identifying every zip code where Americans are waiting over 30 minutes to vote or indicating those election districts where the voting machines are not working. Collectively we will inform each other when when the lines too long and ensure that media and watchdog groups know where problems exist.

Four Ways to Use VoteReport

* Twitter: include #votereport and other tags (below) to describe the scene on the ground
* SMS: Send text messages to 66937 starting with the keyword #votereport plus other hash tags (below)
* iPhone: We expect to have an iPhone App in the App Store by election day
* Phone: Call our automated system to report about conditions, using any touch-tone phone

And if you would like to talk to a human to report bad conditions you’ve observed, please call our partner 1-866-OUR-VOTE.