Monday, August 29, 2011

New Term: Astrotweeting

Here's a good one from the -- the definition of "AstroTweeting":


The creation of fake Twitter profiles to show support for a political candidate.

Bill White described the practice in an Texas Monthly interview about his 2010 race against Texas Gov. Rick Perry:

“There were also some silly things that happened that are still hard to believe. One consulting firm of his created artificial people to tweet. [The campaign] wanted to question my support in the African American community, but they couldn’t recruit an African American person to do it, so on Twitter they used a stock photo of a black person. One of the people who supported my campaign clicked on the image and found out it was a singer from Atlanta. The Twitter address was registered at the same location as one of Mr. Perry’s political consultants.”

Derived by Rick Hasen, with inspiration from Ben Smith, from the term Astroturfing.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Petition sites Part 3 -

Here's another top online petition site for your consideration --

Like and , you can start an online petition and generate contacts to public officials in minutes.

Here's the official scoop on iPetitions from their site:

About us

iPetitions takes the power of the internet to transform society and places it in the hands of ordinary people. With iPetitions, you don't have to be a technical whiz or corporate behemoth to get your voice heard. We give you the tools and community to create your own sophisticated online campaign. All you have to do is write a petition in support of your cause. We help you gather support from around the world.

Changing the world

At iPetitions, we are committed to the idea that technology can change the world for the better. Around the world, technology is making a difference to lives. In developing countries, the internet is delivering health information to villages and equipping schools with virtual libraries. In dictatorships, web sites are spaces of freedom where dissidents evade the clutches of a repressive state. In America, the internet offers voters direct access to their political representatives and helps enforce corporate responsibility. With our tools, you can be part of this process of democratization.
iPetitions is committed to fostering a genuine grassroots democracy, where citizens from around the world can gather to exchange information and freely debate the issues. We allow you to tap into the internet’s hundreds of millions of users to support the cause that you care about.

What we offer

We offer the physical space to host your petition, and we give you the tools to gather signatures, blog about your cause, and build a community around the issues that you care about. Our sophisticated tools have been tested on a number of online petitions, and offer a high degree of customization without requiring any programming or technical knowledge. You might find other petition sites out there. But none of them offers the full range of tools that we do. Among other things, our tools allow you to:
  • Customize your question list
  • Customize the design of your petition
  • Download real-time data on your petition
  • Blog about your petition
  • Create filters to block out duplicate signatures
  • And much more…

Who can host a petition

Anyone. Thanks to iPetitions, you don't have to be a big organization or a technical whiz to manage an online campaign. On the other hand, even if you are a large organization, you will still benefit from working with us. For larger organizations, we offer customized campaign-building solutions. These are total packages that can include anything from consulting services to web design and construction. If you are an organization or company and would like to know more, contact usdirectly.

Is it free

Yes. Our costs are covered by advertising and donations, so we are able to offer you these great tools totally free.

Our principles

iPetitions is neither left nor right, neither liberal nor conservative. We believe that all opinions deserve an equal hearing.
We will not accept any petition which discriminates on grounds of race, class, sex, ethnicity, political affiliation, or sexual orientation. We reserve the right to refuse any petition which we feel does not contribute to an open and democratic exchange of ideas.
We are committed to maintaining the privacy of our petition hosts and those who sign their petitions. Click here for more information on our privacy policy.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Another Petition site to check out

If you like online advocacy and are looking for new outlets for activists in support of your cause give a petition site a try.  There are several to pick from and you can get started for free!

Today, let's look at The Petition Site .  They boast direct connections to Facebook for all their petitions - giving you greater range and scope for your advocacy effort.

Here's an overview of the parent company Care 2 from their site:

Company Overview

Care2 is a trusted social action network that empowers millions of people to lead a healthy, sustainable lifestyle and support socially responsible causes.
Care2's content offering includes original stories, blogs and syndication partners covering a wide range of healthy lifestyle areas, and causes ranging from politics to human rights and animal welfare. By integrating relevant content with action opportunities such as petitions, pledges and daily actions, Care2 builds a deeper level of passion and engagement with its users. The Butterfly Rewards member loyalty program is a "currency for good" for Care2 members to earn points and support nonprofit projects worldwide.
Care2 users are the emerging mainstream of conscious consumers, bringing a high level of passion, engagement and influence to everything they do. The typical Care2 user is a woman who is 25-54 years old, lives with a spouse or partner, has one or more pets, volunteers for causes she believes in, buys eco-friendly products and donates to nonprofits.
Care2 is the largest and fastest growing social action network, with over 16 million members and 175% growth in unique visitors year over year. Care2 also owns and operates the #1 site for petitions,, generating 24 million signatures in the past 12 months. With applications on Facebook and a network of over 100 revenue sharing partner sites, Care2's reach is to over 150 million people.
Care2 is in the top 200 sites worldwide on Quantcast traffic reporting
Care2 is a profitable, privately funded company and a B-Corporation. The company's business model is focused on pay-per-action lead generation for non-profit organizations and CPM sponsorships for responsible consumer brands. As a B-Corporation or social enterprise, Care2 generates revenues by connecting individuals with nonprofits and businesses that are making the world a better place.

There are a few simple steps to get started:
  • It's quick, easy, & free to start a petition
  • Every petition created on Care2 is automatically available on Facebook
  • An online petition is your direct line to your Congressperson, Senator, heads of Corporate America, & even the President.
  • The Care2 community is passionate resulting in 68,002,580 online petition signatures.
  • One Care2 member got 450,000 signatures on her petition. That's huge!
  • Use our tools to promote your petition on Facebook and other social networks
  • Our embedded petition widget lets people sign your petition on any website or blog!
  • Our Facebook petition application lets your friends sign your petition without leaving Facebook.
  • Care2's seasoned campaigners may take up your cause and help promote your online petition.
  • Find more tips in the Activist Toolkit.

Good luck!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Petition Your Government at

Looking for another way to motivate activists to contact public officials to support your cause?  Try out a "petition" site like to "start a petition for change.

It's easy, quick and effective given the right support system to supplement the effort.  Focus can be on politicians at any level of government.  Users report action from tens-of-thousands of e-mailing activists around a diverse array of issues from liberal to conservative.

Give it a try!

Here's a description from their website:


Every day, members win people-powered campaigns for social change

We believe that building momentum for social change globally means empowering citizen activists locally -- and that the influence of a local victory is always much larger than the change it immediately achieves. Using this community-driven model, members have won hundreds of campaigns and are together building a powerful movement that is rapidly spanning the globe.
Here's how we win together: Someone, somewhere, starts a petition. members spread the word over Facebook, Twitter, email, and blogs. Momentum builds as the target of the petition is flooded with messages calling for change.
With the support of's team of organizers, members then increase pressure via phone calls, in-person events, media exposure, and other grassroots tactics to drive the campaign to victory.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

What Do You Love?

This is a fun new way to search "The Google" and find what you love!

What Do You Love (WDYL):  

What do you love?

For lobbying, I find it a useful way to do alternate searches on public officials, issues and competitors.

So, give it a try and find what you love!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Best Practice - Facebook Campaigns for President - Romney Style

Mitt Romney
2012 Presidential candidate Mitt Romney is using Facebook for his campaign in an interesting way.  His tagline "Believe in America" is pre-designed on a downloadable sign that can be accessed from his Facebook page.  Supporters are urged to write a note on the sign, take a picture with it, and submit it to the Romney campaign for possible inclusion on the site.

Download the sign here.

With over 1 million likes so far, this campaign seems to be attracting the attention of supporters from all corners of Facebook.

How can you interact with potential supporters in a fun and memorable way?

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Is There an App for That? App's for Lobbying

Practically everyone either has or is thinking about having an iPhone or iPad.  You can actually do more with that thing than play Angry Birds -- you can use it for your lobbying and advocacy work.

Check out the iTunes App Store and do some simple searches for Congress, government, advocacy, lobbying and other related key word searches.  Someone has created an App for Michigan political contributions that allows searching out anyone that has contributed to Michigan members of Congress.  Another App is a directory to the Michigan legislature and includes pictures, bios and contact information.

These Apps are becoming more and more popular and are likely available for your state as well as the federal government.a

Check out Congress in Your Pocket .  They have several different reference Apps available that will become necessities for you advocacy efforts.  There are many competitors entering this field and most are cheap and easy to use.

Congress in Your Pocket currently covers the following units of government:

New York

Here's the sample of the Michigan legislature App:

Michigan in Your Pocket
 Now you can have all of the members of the Michigan Legislature and their key staff right in your pocket.
MICHIGAN offers you all of the vital information you need to be an active and effective citizen. 
 Michigan+ ($4.99) provides you with contact, staff, campaign and biographical information. MichiganPro($9.99) keeps you updated for one full year. MichiganPro for Android and BlackBerry ($29.99) keeps you updated for one full year and adds access from any computer.
Search for the legislator you want to contact and then call, email, or post feedback to their web forms. Visiting the state capitol? Tap on any address and get directions using Google maps. Want to follow the money? Tap on campaign finance and get a list of top contributors, industries, and economic interests. Want to follow legislation? Visit the "More" section and search for the bills you want to track and see how much the each member raised for his or her most recent campaign.
The applications include bookmarks you assign, a link to the official legislature bill information system, a special tab for new members of the legislature, a link to the governor's official website, a link to theMoney In State Politics Michigan page, a link to the Detroit Free Pressmobile website, our Twitter feed and blog, polls on issues, user feedback, FAQ, and the ability to email us updates on members of the legislature. 
Our goal is to maintain the most comprehensive and up-to-date data on members of the Michigan Legislature. Information in these applications is strictly maintained by our team, which is led by Lisa McGraw, who lives in Michigan. We also receive helpful updates from our users, which we check out to make sure they are correct.
  • Full name
  • Color photo
  • District and political party
  • Title
  • Mailing address with link to a Google map
  • Official website
  • Telephone number
  • Email address or web contact form
  • Key staff names
  • Committee membership
  • Campaign news
  • Campaign finance
  • Campaign website
  • Campaign opponent and website
  • Most recent election results
  • Short biography

More are coming soon.

Now you can get back to Angry Birds!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Do you Have Influence?

You think you're influencing your targets -- you're using Twitter, Facebook, blogs and YouTube.  But, how do you know?  One way is to sign up for Klout and watch your score rise and fall over time.

Klout: The Standard for Influence

Klout Score
"The Klout Score is the measurement of your overall online influence. The scores range from 1 to 100 with higher scores representing a wider and stronger sphere of influence. Klout uses over 35 variables on Facebook and Twitter to measure True Reach, Amplification Probability, and Network Score.

True Reach is the size of your engaged audience and is based on those of your followers and friends who actively listen and react to your messages. Amplification Score is the likelihood that your messages will generate actions (retweets, @messages, likes and comments) and is on a scale of 1 to 100. Network score indicates how influential your engaged audience is and is also on a scale from 1 to 100. The Klout score is highly correlated to clicks, comments and retweets.

We believe that influence is the ability to drive people to action -- "action" might be defined as a reply, a retweet, a comment, or a click. We perform significant testing to ensure that the average click-through rate on links shared is highly correlated with a person's Klout Score. The 25+ variables used to generate scores for each of these categories are normalized across the whole data set and run through our analytics engine. After the first pass of analytics, we apply a specific weight to each data point. We then run the factors through our machine-learning analysis and calculate the final Klout Score. The final Klout Score is a representation of how successful a person is at engaging their audience and how big of an impact their messages have on people.  "

Sign up and try this out at

Here's a recent story about Federal officials and their Klout scores.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Re-Tweets on Twitter - Give Yourself Some Space!

If' you're using Twitter for your advocacy efforts, it's likely that you're re-tweeting messages from your supporters and friends.  I'm sure you often find the limit of 140 characters frustrating - especially in a RT situation.  Here's a few tips:

1.     Use a "." (period) to begin "@ replies" so your message shows up in the feed of your friends.  When your Tweet begins with the "@", only the recipient can view it, so your friends are not exposed to your conversation - which may be useful to your efforts.  This is a useful alternative to the "RT".

2.     Increase your chance of being retweeted by limiting your message to 125 characters.  Then, when someone retweets in the old style, they will have room to add their own comment and handle.

3.     Shorten the retweet and preface it with "MT" or Modified Tweet.  Don't change the intent of the message, but alert your followers to the updated nature of the comment.

4.     Ask for a Retweet.  Shameless self-promotion often truly works.  Give your followers a call to action, make your tweet interesting and retweetable, and end it with "Plz RT!"

Good luck!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Use An Infographic to tell your Advocacy Story

Here's a great example of an infographic being used by the Internet Innovation Alliance to promote their message of greater access to wireless broadband.

How can you tell your story through pictures?

Friday, July 8, 2011

The Twitter Townhall - New Tool Available Now!

Earlier this week, the White House held an online townhall meeting via Twitter using the hashtag #AskObama and linking via their official feed @WhiteHouse connected with Twitter's new @Townhall service.

Find more here -- watch the video, check out the feed and learn more about how they did it.

This is a natural progression for politicians and Twitter.  Some have tried it in the past without the special Twitter assistance with mixed results - I predict we'll see much more of this in the future as politicians and advocates use Twitter for instant crowd-sourcing.  Watch this really mature in the 2012 election season!

Here's Pres. Obama Tweeting during the event:

Photo of the Day: President Obama tweets a question during the Twitter @townhall in the East Room

Find the full Twitter Q & A online at

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Have you Checked Your Google Dashboard?

Props to Ari Adler for this post on regarding the usefulness of the Google Dashboard.

Here's the opening paragraph:

Google+ is quickly becoming a topic of discussion among the early adopters of social networks, but when was the last time you checked your Google Dashboard? Did you even know you have one? At the Google Dashboard, you can get a quick overview of how much Google has infiltrated your life and, more importantly, how much of that life is being shared publicly on the Web. You also can use the links and tools on the page to take care of your account settings, including your overall Google account as well as the many Google offerings you have signed up for. It's especially helpful to remind you of stuff you signed up to try out and then forgot as it joined the flotsam of Internet productivity.

Remember to check out these tools as you're monitoring the results of your social media advocacy.

Follow the author on Twitter @AriBAdler