Tactical Tweeting: An Armchair Activist’s Advice On Getting Your Representative’s Attention
You marched, you pay attention to action items on Facebook, and dutifully call your rep — what next?
You’ve got a job and can’t devote a lot of time to it, but you’re aching to be more politically active while you’re stuck at work — at least do SOMEthing with that phone you’re holding?
Used effectively (but without much hassle), Twitter can be an effective political tool for influencing your representatives in DC.
“A 2015 survey of congressional staff shows that a relatively few number of constituents can get through to their Members of Congress on social media, possibly influencing lawmakers’ decision-making.”
Hopefully you’ve already got an account, but just don’t know what to do with it. Before you start, be sure you know who your representatives in Congress are:
Find out who your representation in Congress is by ZIP codewww.whoismyrepresentative.com
Armed with that info, here are some beginning tips:
Open Twitter and click the magnifying glass to search for your representative’s Twitter handle.
You know you’ve got the right one if there’s a blue circle check mark next to the name.
Follow the rep by clicking the blue rectangle button on the right side of their profile.
The button turns solid blue when you’re following, and a button with a bell pops up. Click this bell button.
That brings up Account Notifications. Select All Tweets.
Now you’ll get a pop-up notification when your representative makes a Twitter statement, and you’re ready to move on to the next level!
To start using your powers as a constituent to influence your representative, you’ll need to find an issue to push, usually an upcoming vote that your rep will be voting on:
Let’s use the recent HB 111, the Resolution of Inquiry recently put forth by Rep. Jerry Nadler.
Turns out that my representative, Brad Sherman, though friendly to my political views, had not yet signed on to co-sponsor Rep. Nadler’s HB 111, and I wanted to change that, so:
First, I searched for Jerry Nadler’s profile, and followed him and, like I did with my representative, I turned on All Tweets notifications.
HB 111 is an important issue of the moment for Jerry Nadler, so he was tweeting about it often. It didn’t take long until I got a notification of a tweet from him and I swiped it, opening Twitter to this:
Click the Heart button to ‘Like’ the tweet (yes, the numbers of likes are counted in Twitter’s analytics), and click the Retweet button, but choose ‘Quote Tweet’ instead.
‘Quote Tweet’ allows you to ATTACH your tweet to another one, using another person’s tweet as your “quote.”
From here, you’d make a message directly to your representative, like this:
And tweet it!
It’s really that simple: Get notified of tweets, quote ’em, tag your rep, have your say with hashtags, rinse and repeat.
(by the way, Brad Sherman is now a co-sponsor of HB 111.)
Got any other tips? Share them!
Next from JRH Miller — Backhome Facebooking: Gently Empowering Your Friends From High School