The good folks at Socialbrite.org have recently posted a list of what they consider to be a ‘Top-Twelve List’ of social organizations and nonprofits that we all should follow on Twitter. The introduction gives you links to Twitter and how to become a ‘Follower’ of these organizations. It also includes links to individuals who might be worth following as well. It is worth noting that, though the number of ‘Followers’ for each of them is listed, the list is based on the work the groups do and the qualitative use of their Twitter presence, not merely their race to get X numbers on their lists (a quantitative benchmark that seems much more important to celebrities than to community organizations).
Just to give a sense of the scope of the list, it includes such organizations as (in no particular order): DonorsChoose, working on issues of public education; DemocracyNow, an independent media outlet that refuses advertising money; Livestrong, the cancer-survivors community begun by Lance Armstrong; and 12for12K, itself a social media micro-network that brings ‘Followers’ together to donate to the twelve (rotating) charities that 12for12K supports. As we hope to make evident, the list includes educational groups, news outlets, fundraising groups, health concerns, and outreach programs.
Twitter might seem a bit overwhelming at first, with various people’s and groups’ most recent musings – some of which can seem pretty much like inside jokes broadcast to hundreds of outsiders or of no particular interest to anyone who does not like the cereal the Twitter-poster announced he ate for breakfast. But a beauty of Twitter is how scalable it is. With only a modicum of setup and tweaking, you can follow dozens of people and organizations, then pare them down to the two or two hundred you have found useful. Once the basics seem comfortable, you can scale back up. In my humble opinion (IMHO in Twitter-speak), organizations provide a saner ‘information-to-tweets’ ratio than individuals, who might post any little thing that moves them. Such a caveat obviously does not apply to family or co-worker whose musings or reports are a necessary part of your day.
One of the things to remember early on is to be a ‘listener’ (a buzzword in the Social-Media World at the moment), i.e., someone who subscribes to a number of sources and follows them (‘listens to them’) for a while before posting. Although we should all be good listeners, this is sage advice in the social media realm in that it helps each of us stay informed and to consider ideas, links, or opinions we had not thought of. But it also helps in the practical exercise of getting acclimated to the speed and variations of social media. Though much of next week will be devoted to the anniversary of Hurricane Katrina and the ongoing miracles of rebuilding, we will soon do a story about recent social-action ‘hubs’ that are using social media to get more and more people engaged in their activities.
Along with these ‘twelve great causes’ that Socialbrite.org has presented us, one can indeed follow Socialbrite (13). If you have not done so already, may we also suggest you follow us by clicking on the MKCREATIVE ‘Follow Us’ banner to the right? We believe you would be glad you did.
Written by: Christopher Gardner, PhD