Whether or not hashtags will win anything for anyone in 2012, we can be sure that every major event related to the elections will be live-tweeted, just as the Occupy Wall Street protests have been. Over at the New Organizing Institute’s blog today, my friend Melissa Ryan has some excellent advice for people using Twitter to cover rallies and other gatherings as they happen. Some of her tips:
- Don’t worry about covering everything (just cover what you can).
- Promote the work of your fellow live-tweeters.
- Stay with the (hashtag) trends. Respect the hashtags being used by your fellow tweeters and be aware that they sometimes change or evolve.
- Stay charged (with electrical power).
- Have a backup (networks fail at the worst moments).
I’d definitely echo her points, particularly the ones about covering what you can and about promoting the work of others. When we’ve live-tweeted events for my day job at NWLC, I’ve typically stayed in the office to retweet posts from our participants over the organization’s main Twitter feed. This way, we get individual perspectives that add up to much more, particularly when we supplement our own posts with retweets of those from outside activists and organizations.
Every piece helps to create a fuller picture of what’s happening for people around the world who are following along, often literally, since different people will tweet photos of different aspects of the event. Plus, retweeting other activists helps you share the love, which they’ll likely do in return. And you never know who’ll be the one to capture that magic Macaca moment.