WHAT IS A “TWITTER STORM”?
It is an ATTEMPT to COORDINATE user actions on Twitter in order to create and maintain a “Trending Topic”.
A Twitter Storm is achieve d by creating and disseminating a document with a large selection of sample tweets, and instructions for participants. And by effectively motivating people to participate, and to participate aggressively.
Twitter Trending Topics are determined by the accelerating use of a hashtag in a short amount of time. Hence it’s important to choose a hashtag that has not been used before (search your possible tags on Twitter to verify).
STEP 1 – Select a forum for collaboration (public pad)
Select a platform that allows for the creation of a collaboratively edited document (with instructions for the Twitter Storm) and which allows people to add additional tweets that can be used for the campaign.
The following platforms have been used recently to create Twitter Storm pads:
All of these platforms allow anyone to go in and edit the document so make sure you make frequent backups (there are buttons to make a local copy or to “save revision”).
STEP 2 – Draft the Twitter Storm Message
START with a STRONG introduction which explains WHY people will want to participate. Immediately after that, remind people who you are and why you are coordinating the Storm – if it is relevant.
EXPLAIN the goal of the Twitter Storm, provide a list of sample tweets (see below), relevant links to use and the hashtag. If the target issue is complex, include some background information. This is also a good place to explain why the issue matters to groups involved in tangential issues.
SPECIFY the time (and timeframe) that everyone should start tweeting – and stress that the hashtag should not be used before that time. Using the hashtag beforehand may keep it off of the top trending list.
CREATE a list of strong sample tweets that incorporate the links and the hashtag. Some of our most successuf campaigns had over 200 tweets, but you can launch with as few at 15-20 tweets and invite other participants add more.
USE a link shortenter like bit.ly to shorten your content links so that you have space to write out the tweets (there is a 140 character limit on twitter which includes username and attached links) *The tweets should be at most 130 characters to accomodate longer usernames of the participants. Some examples:
– Bush Doctrine Privacy Exceeds the Law as NSA Breaths Easier Upon Law Backing
Up Bad Behavior http://wapo.st/1k4j1vj #BushButthead
– Bush flips off press conference http://bit.ly/JuQYHz #AssBagBush
SELECT a high impact hashtag. Humor, relevance, and BREVITY are key. Search Twitter to be sure your selected tag has not been used previously.
INCLUDE an attention-getting or informative image. Just like in Facebook, attaching an image will help a tweet go viral. Create or find a meme image (or more than one) that can be accessed directly (like the link above) and use the link in the Twittter Storm.
– #StopTheTPP has a very good example of lightning, rain, and clouds behind their promotion which gets distributed through email, Facebook, and Twitter. It’s here: https://scontent-a-atl.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-frc3/1464741_606582392740164_68912454_n.png
Step 3 – Distribute the Twitter Storm Message
USE Twitter Direct Messaging, Facebook messaging, email and other private methods to distrubute your initial pad to your closest group of collaborators and to ask them to involve other people. Be sure to stress that the pad shuld not be made public yet, and not to use the tweets until the chosen hour.
ASK this first group of people to thnk of and add new tweets, and use the chat feature of the pads to discuss and coordinate.
Step 4 – Further Distribute the Twitter Storm Message / Use your ‘Bee Hive’
CONTACT the ‘Bee Hive’ of people that will help participate in an action regarding the topic of the storm. Maintaining these beehives is an ongoing process. If you are creating a bee hive for a new topic, try to stay as broad as possible and consider which groups might be tangentially interested (and will participate).
FIND collaborators. For example, finding American groups that are critical of George Bush would be an easy task, but you would want to try to have the twitter storms global if poasible. Consider questions like these: – Who dislikes George Bush? – Which groups are dedicated to exposing the follies of ‘W’?
LIST all possible twitter accounts and send a promo of the twitter storm to this list 3 days prior to the date and time of Twitter Storm. Ask for confirmation that they will participate.
CALL… the most effective way to reach out to other activists is by PHONE. Don’t be afraid to call people and ask. The worst outcome is that they say no. The best is that they say yes OR that you figure out another way to collaborate.
Step 5 – Show Time
START… At the specified hour, everyone should start tweeting. At this point (or maybe a short time before) also post the link to a read only version of the Twitter Storm Message on Twitter, Facebook, etc, in order to get even more people to participate.
REMIND people that they can delete most of the tweets later in order to clean up their twitter feed. The Twitter Storm strategy uses people’s twitter accounts for a specific purpose, the goal is not to populate twitter with the suggested tweets but to trend.
STRATEGY SPECIFICS (this info should be in the Twitter Storm Message)
People should try to keep tweeting as long as they are able, as quickly as they can to boost the trend. Here is a technique that the better Twitter Stormers use to increase the trend: Let’s say we have 30 pre-set tweets. It will take no more than 5 minutes to cut/paste all 30 tweets and send by just slightly changing each tweet by removing a comma or period etc from the prior tweet. (This is necessary because Twitter will not let the same account tweet the exact same text again – it results in a “you already tweeted that” message.)
• President Bush is a butthead and a liar. He took America to war in Iraq for the oil corporations.
• Pres. Bush is a butthead and a liar. He took America to war in Iraq for the oil corporations.
• Pres(no period) Bush is a butthead and a liar. He took America to war in Iraq for the oil
• President Bush is a butthead and a liar. He took America to war in Iraq 4 the oil corporations.
Step 6 – Document and Promote
TAKE A SNAPSHOT OF SCREEN WITH YOUR TRENDING TOPIC and send that out as well and use it in your ongoing campaign.
Example of a Twitter Storm message for additional collaboration/participation:
Tomorrow we will do a Twitter campaign starting at 13.00 Turkish time,
12:00 central European/Italian/Dutch/Spanish time. Please convert and
see your local time corresponding to these and join the storm to
support Fisun Erdogan’s case. The below link is from the blog, and gives
a summary of her trial. After 7 years in jail, without proper
process and evidence, and after 7 years without any reason her court
decided to give her a life sentence in prison.
This is the titan.pad we use to build the campaign: if you like to
collaborate, please translate tweets from EN to your language, use
the TR hastag which will be decided and declared in coming
hours, spread the storm in your countries, .
If you won’t be able to tweet tomorrow/or between the given time frame,
use tweetdeck https://tweetdeck.twitter.com or hootsuite
(https://hootsuite.com/) or any similar tool to schedule the tweets
prepared on the pad beginning from 13:00 on TR time. Using these tools
you could copy tweets from the pad and paste on your twitter account,
and spread large amounts of tweets at the same time: If you need any
assistance please email or ask comrades working on the pad.
in solidarity, xxx ”