Excerpt from Time's Up! below:
|A Word From Eva||9|
|CHAPTER ONE: Time's Up!||13|
|How to Wiggle Out of Politics||20|
|CHAPTER TWO: The Case for Twitter||23|
|CHAPTER THREE: Tweet and Simple||39|
|Suggested Account Settings||46|
|Daily Dose of Twitter||48|
|CHAPTER FOUR: Hashtag Academy||49|
|CHAPTER FIVE: Excuses, Excuses (Why You Hate Twitter)||57|
|CHAPTER SIX: Navigating the Twitterverse||61|
|Common Mistakes on Twitter||74|
|CHAPTER SEVEN: Acronyms and Slang on Twitter||75|
|CHAPTER EIGHT: Twitter FAQs||79|
|CHAPTER NINE: Twitter Throwback (History and Trivia)||91|
|CHAPTER TEN: The Other Social Media Guys||95|
|Favorite Tech Tips||105|
|CHAPTER ELEVEN: The Purpose-Driven Activist||107|
|Part One: Knowing the Hurdles||109|
|Part Two: Jumping the Hurdles||113|
|Part Three: The Shorter Activism||135|
|Part Four: Politics is About People||139|
|Part Five: The Grassroots Campaign||141|
|Are You an Effective Activist?||153|
|CHAPTER TWELVE: The Leading Question||155|
|Which of These Best Describes You?||177|
|CHAPTER THIRTEEN: Path to Politics||179|
|CHAPTER FOURTEEN: Jefferson City||185|
|CHAPTER FIFTEEN: The Ultimate Activism||191|
|CHAPTER SIXTEEN: United We Stand||203|
|CHAPTER SEVENTEEN: Two Teds||215|
|CHAPTER EIGHTEEN: With Gratitude||219|
THE CASE FOR TWITTER
Is This You?
If This Isn’t You...
And if you’re fairly new to tweeting, keep an open mind as I make the following ten “cases” for knowing your way around Twitter. As you read,imagine Twitter’s benefits in your own life.
#1 Twitter: It’s as Easy as Email!
Two of my favorite articles that promote Twitter are entitled, “Why Traditional Media Should be Afraid of Twitter“ and “Why Conservatives Must Join the Battle for America on Twitter.” The titles do not exaggerate. As I mentioned earlier, the mainstream media cannot control Twitter, so we control the message. It’s quite the role reversal, that The People drive the story—and truly, it is the people.
Let me encourage you how easy it is to learn to tweet. By comparison, learning Facebook is like navigating a corn maze! It’s true, most people learn Twitter not by a class or workshop, but simply by using it. If you can send an email, you are more than qualified! Did someone show you, step by step, how to email? Maybe someone introduced you to email, but chances are, you A.) learned the ins and outs by using it; and B.) would likely ask yourself today, Why was I intimidated by learning to email?
By all means, don’t make Twitter more complicated than it really is. People say, “All those symbols!” But surprisingly, there are only two of them (@ and #) and they are not a prerequisite to being able to tweet. I didn’t use them at first, and it didn’t matter. Like me, you can learn how to use these symbols after you’ve gotten more comfortable. By then, most users are self-taught and everything “clicks.”
#2 The Future of Elections
The following excerpt from an article in Politico is a sobering example of the challenge before us, and it has nothing to do with Mitt Romney. There are some painful truths here (but it does get better!).
“...MittRomney.com, was built on an archaic architecture that required the entire site to be updated every time most changes were made. That made the site more prone to crashing and made rapid response more cumbersome, as evidenced by the lag of days before the front of the site touted Romney’s triumph in the first presidential debate.
[Aaron] Ginn said his offer to re-code the site was turned down. He had been hired to manage and grow something called MyMitt, a little-used program intended to help rank-and-file volunteers raise money.”
Apparently, Romney’s team never resolved the problematic website. How can what is basically the candidate’s store window not be prioritized for the highest-level GOP campaign? Obviously, Obama’s re-election can’t be attributed to Romney’s website failure. Still and all, wouldn’t you think that everything within easy reach (like an effective website or social media offensive) should be a non-negotiable?
There is a growing field of thought that elections will soon be entirely online. This should give you pause. There is no denying Obama had a winning edge with technology, and look who won. Regardless, once you experience the excitement of a virtual town hall or a successful fundraising campaign through the clicks of a retweet, you’ll be amazed that any political operative would consider social media as optional.
I love to see candidates and politicians reaching out in the Twitterverse. It usually means they want to be accessible to their audience, care about feedback, and want to succeed. And for the most part, they do.
Twitter is one more avenue to get out the vote, and we shouldn’t hesitate to join the effort.
#3 Must be Present to Win
One of my friends deeply regrets not getting on Twitter sooner. She said, “I couldn’t play when I needed to play,” referring to past campaigns in which her opposition benefited instead. Likewise, it’s painful to watch a new candidate in a big race try to make a splash and gain support on Twitter, unaware of the need to lay a little groundwork first. By the time they’re acclimated, their campaign is almost over.
#4 Practical Campaign Help & More
From my perspective, marketing platforms like Twitter will soon separate the winning candidates from the losers—if it hasn’t started already. As it is now, candidates and politicians engaged on Twitter enjoy much greater popularity, momentum, and outreach compared to the lifeless campaigns of those who are not. And engaged is the operative word. Experienced users can get away with minimal activity, but Twitter still requires a little effort. A while ago, (MO) State Representative Caleb Rowden tweeted, “Fantastic night of Twitter traffic for me. As a marketing guy, I know you can’t buy this kind of publicity. Thanks to all who helped the cause.” Catch that? You can’t buy this kind of publicity.
In politics, as well as sports and entertainment, new fans eagerly check if their favorite personality tweets. Think of two public figures in the same profession—one regularly shows up on Twitter, and the other does not. Here are just some of the advantages for the first: 1.) a bigger spotlight and microphone; 2.) a direct path to supporters; 3.) access to powerful feedback; 4.) damage control amidst controversies, and 5.) a buffer against personal attacks from an opponent. Regarding critical tweets, breathe easy. You can choose to ignore any one of them without appearing dodgy. Thankfully, when you don’t respond to negative tweets, they are mostly hidden from public view. (Read about handling unwelcome tweets later.)
Here are a few examples of Twitter’s practical benefits:
Certainly none of these hiccups would make or break a campaign, but Twitter is amazingly beneficial and convenient in all kinds of situations. What’s more, I’ve lost count of the connections—occasionally new friends—I’ve made on Twitter. Campaigns are all about networking, reaching out to voters, and building relationships, and Twitter should be promoted.
Activists regularly ask me to get the word out and tweet about upcoming events. Problem is, not enough conservatives participate yet, so spreading the word is unreliable. These same activists work really hard and claim to not have the “time” to learn Twitter. Remember, we need to work smarter, not harder! The road to victory means that everyone is equipped with the resources available, preparing them for the battle ahead.
#5 The Culture Club
Listen up politicians! Twitter is the barometer and inside track on pop culture. Letters are no longer read by the late-night TV host. Tweets are! Shouldn’t you have some cultural awareness in order to relate to voters and constituents? Twitter makes it easy to keep up with current events.
Can a person’s fame be directly attributed to Twitter? Surprisingly, yes! “Regular guys” have had books published after being discovered on Twitter. Comedian Rob Delaney won the first “Funniest Person on Twitter” award at the prestigious Comedy Central Awards.
Fans enthusiastically “converse” with high-profile conservatives like game-show host Chuck Woolery, rocker Ted Nugent, and actor James Woods. Celebrities may or may not respond to your tweets, but knowing they probably read them is empowering to the avid fan. Other social media doesn’t come close to a similar capability. When I was a teen, a fan had to first track down a celebrity’s mailing address, which undoubtedly was a P.O. box. Next, they hoped their letter got past the staff, then into the hands of the celebrity. Only a lucky few may have received an actual response. Today, a celebrity can block someone on Twitter, but blocking doesn’t do much since they will still be notified of any tweets from the blocked person. The sheer volume of tweets a particular celebrity receives may prevent them from reading each one, but many confess that reading their personalized tweets is irresistible.
#6 Reaching Young Conservatives
Numerous sources indicate an explosion of teens and young people obtaining information from Twitter. Ask them and you will find young people no longer get their news from conventional sources. Remind me who conservatives desperately need to reach again?
Furthermore, what do they really think? Check out what some young conservatives had to say about social media and politics. Their opinions shed some much-needed light on their perspectives and priorities. If we’re smart, we can learn from them.
Why should everyone be on Twitter, at least professionally?
“For political candidates, it communicates a layer of transparency and approachability. Some [prominent politicians] don’t even have Twitter accounts. I also love [MO] Speaker Jones’ early morning tweets!”
“Politicians say they want to hear from young people, but they won’t visit OUR world, which is Twitter.”
“If you’re not on it, you’re completely missing sections of information depending on your profession. For instance, stock market tips and innovation. It’s much quicker than CNN or FOX for getting the information. I read more than I tweet.”
“Everyone is on Twitter if they care about their message.”
“I don’t think I could work for someone who wasn’t on Twitter. It would mean they don’t know what’s going on.”
“All professionals should be on Twitter because it is a great way to help grow their business, political office, etc. The followers of [businesses] feel more connected and we have the ability to contact them directly.”
“If I go to a business’s website and they aren’t linked to [Facebook and] Twitter, I immediately think they don’t care about their business.”
“Are you kidding? __________ is a senator and doesn’t use Twitter?”
“When I watch a new show or hear a new band, I immediately check if they’re on Twitter. I want to connect with them! If they’re not, I am hugely disappointed.”
“I guess he [referring to a state senator] doesn’t want to hear from any of us, but the Speaker of the House [Tim Jones] sure does!”
“How come [state] Representative __________ thinks she doesn’t have to be on Twitter when that’s where all the young people are?”
Why do you think Twitter is better than Facebook?
“I feel like I’m in charge of the content I receive. Twitter is a better provider of information. Facebook is better for personal stuff.”
“Everyone talks too much on Facebook. For long conversations, I’d rather see them in person.”
“It’s cool when I see politicians on Twitter because all of them are on Facebook and it’s too much to read.”
“There are no stupid game invitations!”
“I am going to college and working. I only have time for Twitter!”
“Twitter has immediacy, conciseness, and it’s portable.”
“I prefer Twitter over Facebook. Facebook is more of a personal social media site that is geared to reach family and friends. For the person striving to express their views without revealing too much private information, Twitter is the way to go.”
“Twitter gives voice to the ‘little guys’ and Twitter teaches you to be succinct.”
“I’ve given up on checking my [state] representative’s account for tweets.”
“Why do we only have about 10 [Missouri] politicians on Twitter? My grandma is on!” [Obviously 10 isn’t accurate, but he was clearly frustrated.]
“Twitter is a great way to connect with other users all over the world and gives the ability to share your beliefs, your message, and your passions with a much larger scale of people than with other social media sites.”
[During a hearing at the Capitol, someone texted me to ask the Twitter handle of the state representative conducting the hearing, then texted me back right away.] “Yikes. He has an account but never tweets. Doesn’t look good.”
“Of course I snoop around Twitter, to see who’s on!”
“I want to get more politically involved but why should I leave MY world to find something to do politically?”
“I think it’s funny how conservatives try and act like they’re ‘trying,’ so they finally get on Facebook, but they don’t go on Twitter, which is even easier.”
“I don’t see anything improving with the Republican Party if they don’t at least use Twitter.”
“I finally talked my Mom into using Twitter but she’s mad because the politicians she wants to follow don’t use it.”
“Ugh, my state rep hasn’t tweeted in a year! He’s so out of touch!”
[During a recent Lincoln Days banquet, as a congressman was speaking at the podium:] “He doesn’t even have a Twitter account!” [In fact, the congressman does have an account but doesn’t use it. Not using an account was apparently the same as not having an account in this young person’s opinion].
“Politicians must get people to tweet for them if they’re giving a speech and tweets are going out. But the people tweeting for them don’t even do a good job!”
“Facebook is like putting a sign in your yard for all your friends and family to see. Twitter is like putting a sign in your yard for the whole world to see.”
“It appears to me the most common introduction to people you’ve never met before has become, 'I know you on Twitter/Facebook.’”
“I would use Twitter more if more Republicans were using it.”
“The people who complain the most about ‘not being heard’ are the ones too lazy to take a little bit of time to figure out the megaphone [Twitter]!”
“I don’t ‘get’ Facebook, or maybe it’s because I’m not patient with it. Some people meander through separate news sources, but Twitter has everything in one place. And I can talk to my friends.”
What is your takeaway after reading their comments? During these interviews, the worst frustrations stemmed from what many perceived as candidates’ or politicians’ blatant unwillingness to be current or accessible. Similar frustration was occasionally expressed about their pastor or another influential person in their life. If we know where to find our young people and neglect to go there, we have only ourselves to blame for their absence.
#7 “The” (Political) News Source
Did you know that today, most reporters look for their subjects on Twitter and go there first to check a story? If you’re in office (or running for office), why are you willing to let the other guy be more relevant and gain potentially endless publicity through Twitter? Besides being a cost-free platform for stumping, Twitter makes it possible to clarify, recant, corroborate, or update any given story at a moment’s notice.
Savvy journalists follow Twitter for the next big story, expanding their own professional visibility in the process by tweeting themselves. Once in a while, you can even catch them mocking their colleagues who don’t. It’s a shame to see the veteran reporters who only tweet every couple days—sometimes every couple weeks. I can’t imagine being a “news” correspondent and choosing molasses over lightning. I’ve personally watched twenty-somethings forego a college education and make a name for themselves in a number of professions on Twitter. It’s not something I would necessarily recommend, but these individuals saved a lot of time and money!
Twitter has been called “the modern-day water cooler.” No wonder, since it provides an immediate pulse on what’s happening. After political debates, it’s common to call a “winner” through tweet analysis. Tweets about the Rand Paul filibuster brought international attention to both Senator Paul and the controversial topic of drones. News outlets routinely ask viewers to tweet their comments and questions. If you’re not on Twitter, you miss out on a lot.
I like to follow “live” events on Twitter if I’m unable to attend. It’s exciting to read the tweets of a reliable reporter or friend who can be there. In this way, I have access to details and developments precisely as they occur.
#8 State-of-the-Art Advertising
There are a ridiculous number of fledgling businesses reaching profitability without spending a dime on advertising and utilizing social media instead. More and more existing brands are on the hunt for novel marketing tools via Twitter. Starbucks introduced gifting by tweet called the Tweet-a-Coffee program, and American Express initiated a service that allows its cardholders to make purchases via hashtag. AmEx further rewarded their customer with discounts on items if they used the correct hashtag. A lot of this “t-commerce” is aimed at marketing through hashtags more than it is the customer’s purchase.
TV shows like America’s Got Talent offer live voting through Twitter to entice a larger fan base. Contests and surveys via Twitter have created a whole new branding culture. To ignore the marketing potential of Twitter at this point in time would be like a CEO eliminating their advertising department. The marketing potential is no less in activism and political campaigns!
#9 The Unknown
There are plenty of non-political reasons for being “ready to go” with a basic account. A host of hypotheticals exist, most of which you aren’t aware of until action is needed. Twitter may be the best source to find biological parents or organ donors one day. The waters are largely uncharted and it is poised to be well on its way.
Twitter is becoming an increasingly visual platform, and tweets with pictures yield roughly 33% more engagement. While police don’t know how many missing person cases are solved with the help of social media, they do know it plays a pivotal role. Think about it: We’ve all watched news stories about a photo going “viral,” and one in three missing children is located because someone has seen and recognized their photograph. As it is, social media helps solve crime. My family experienced this personally after a multi-home robbery in our neighborhood two summers ago.
#10 The Sheer Power
A headline recently caught my attention: that one of Yemen’s biggest concerns was Twitter. At last, the Yemeni citizenry could leave their oppressive government in the dust in an information war made possible by the little blue bird. No more spinning the news even in the Arab world’s poorest nation.
Call to Action
Ready to assimilate and grow your audience? Turn the page so you can set yourself up on Twitter and start using it!
 Gigaom (6.12.12) http://goo.gl/59hnb0
 Big Journalism (5.15.12) http://goo.gl/LVevMs
 Politico (2.28.13) http://goo.gl/QVNLsV
 I interviewed approximately 150 politically-interested young (ages 19-29) conservatives by email or in person. All use Twitter regularly and live in the U.S. I initiated each interview with the first and second questions. Further discussion generated additional comments, which are listed under “General Comments.” Due to space limitations, I eliminated some answers that could be vague, redundant, or somewhat confusing.