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Social Media Plan to Support H J Resolution 23

Twitter’s logo. It will be a helpful tool in supporting the current bill introduced by Rep. Meng in the previous post. This post is a strategic guide for those who haven’t used it or are not familiar with how the platform works. [photo source]

This is more or less a continuation of my previous post from three days ago on the current resolution by Rep. Grace Meng to lower the voting age to 16. I wanted to focus on outlining a strategy to help support the current bill through social media. It would be a good idea to go back and read the last post if you haven’t already for background information. This post will only focus on campaigning through Twitter, but feel free to use other forms of social media to pass this and other important info on to your network of followers after reading.

First, I will start from the most basic of tutorials so that even if you’ve never used Twitter before, you should be able to understand the basics of the platform as well as the importance of how this is a necessary tool for any kind of campaign, not just lowering the voting age. The following paragraphs will take considerable reading, but I hope you can take a look at the reasoning for using social media as a valuable campaign tool as this can make a difference on what passes as far as legislation goes and what gets people’s attention on social media. Think of it as free social media advice. There’s also a recap at the end if you need a refresher but don’t want to re-read everything, so I suggest bookmarking this page for reference.

The goal of any campaign is to pass a legislation, get an official elected or bring awareness to an issue. There’s only so much a supporter can do at the end of the day. However, supporting a bill is different. You don’t have to cast a vote for it, it doesn’t travel from location to location and it’s already in the hands of the House of Representatives. This doesn’t mean you can’t find ways to support it. One of the main ways to do this is through social media. The best platform for this Twitter. There are many reasons for this, but I won’t get into that here. The focus will be on informing people who don’t already know of this bill as well how we can use social media to bring more awareness and support for it.

Obviously, there are many bills that are looked at by the House of Representatives, besides H J Res 23. Probably outside of those reading this blog, most people aren’t even aware of it unless they’re an organization that supports lowering the voting age. Many of whom could be potential supporters and allies on social media. They just don’t think they have a way they can contribute. We want to give particular attention to this bill in order to get people to support it, especially those not already aware of it. How does one go about this in this era of COVID? One way is to get items connected to your issue or event to “trend” on Twitter, where you have a free audience to present it to.

Trending is the concept where a topic currently being discussed on Twitter appears on the trends list, which is the collection of words stacked on a column to the lower right of your page(on desktop). Trends can be a word, a name, a hashtag, etc. For example, on Feb. 19th, this is what it looked like for me:

In the middle term, “John Kerry” for example, people on Twitter are referring to John Kerry talking about how “Earth only has 9 years to avert the worst consequences of the climate crisis.” As a result, his name is trending. This is what should be done and is the goal for Rep. Grace Meng’s H J Res 23 bill when it is voted on, as well as the hashtag #16ToVote. (An important thing to note is that stats for a trend don’t always show up, like how many posts are making it trend. Sometimes, this information does show up, like in the examples below. Other times, it shows up later, like in an hour or two.)

Some recent examples include trends I saw this weekend. Both aren’t serious trends, but are topics that people were discussing. On Saturday, Feb. 27th, a playful post called “#StupidConspiracyTheories” was trending. The posts was mostly filled with jokes or memes that Twitter does from time to time. It trended with only 1,015 Tweets.

The next day, Sunday Feb 28, “Dan Levy” trended with 1,045 Tweets, mostly discussing his outfit at an awards show.

Before I saw this trend, I didn’t know who Dan Levy was. It was only after I clicked it that I found out why he was trending. This is what awareness is about- we use the same principle as a way to bring awareness to lowering the voting age.

In the examples above, the posts might not be serious, but they do bring attention to a cause or topic, no matter how silly it might be. You can also see it doesn’t require too many posts to trend. This is part of the Twitter system and how the trending process works- they don’t differentiate between political, celebrity, word or hashtag terms. Whatever gets the most posts “trends”. In order to get others to talk about lowering the voting age to 16, we who are supporters should openly talk about it.

I used the examples above because they’re the most recent, but you can find examples of this almost daily even if you don’t have a Twitter account to log in to. Just simply look up a random username, like @RepGraceMeng and you can easily see what’s trending. However, by logging into an account, you will get specific trend statistics, like what’s trending in the United States and sometimes, how many posts are attributed to that term. Remember, Twitter is a worldwide platform, so remember to change your settings to “United States” so you can see if anything we’re posting trends here. You can only do this if you have an account, so I recommend opening one for the most up to date information.

The trends system is something we take advantage to bring awareness for things to trend, like “#16ToVote” or “H J Res 23” or “Rep. Grace Meng”. Both hashtags, those with “#” and a word next to it(#StupidConspiracyTheories), as well as regular words/names without the “#” sign(John Kerry, Dan Levy) can trend, so we can use multiple things to trend, both hashtags and words or names, increasing the chances of bringing awareness to lowering the voting age. I’ll show more examples below.

How do we go about getting anything to trend? There are a few, easy strategies we can employ. They may look difficult at first, but when you get to the mechanics behind them, they’re not hard to do. As long as you follow the format rules, you can practically trend anything if enough people talk about it. For H J Res 23, for example, we just need a few people to post at the time the bill is being voted on. The closer to the exact time, the better. The more people closely follow the strategic guidelines, the more effective we can be towards supporting Rep. Meng’s bill.

Twitter posts

Ok. So if posts are needed to make something trend, what should you post on Twitter? There are some easy, general rules to follow that aren’t difficult. The topic we’re posting about should be a clue- “Rep. Grace Meng introduced H J Res 23 to lower the federal voting age to 16 nationwide. #16ToVote”. Just from this one statement, there’s plenty of material to work with.

You could write(tweet example below):

“I support Rep. Meng’s H J Res 23 bill to lower the voting age to 16!”

You might even want to throw in a hashtag so other supporters using this guide can see what others have written:

“I support Rep. Meng’s H J Res 23 bill to lower the voting age to 16! #16ToVote

In fact, adding in the hashtag #16ToVote should be mandatory- it adds to the number of people posting about it on Twitter’s trend counter, like in the #StupidConspiracyTheories example I used above. You might even want to use one of Rep. Meng’s Twitter handles so she might see it- @RepGraceMeng or @Grace4NY

But Rep. Meng isn’t the only person you can reach out to during the voting for the bill: there are the co-sponsors as well! For example, Rep. Pressley, Ayanna(@AyannaPressley), who also introduced a similar bill in 2019, is currently co-sponsoring this bill as well.

Trending topics isn’t only available on Twitter- other forms of social media, like Facebook also have it. You can use these principles on other platforms, but it would be most effective on Twitter because of how the trends section is less cluttered than other apps, providing the least distractions to people online at that time you’re posting.

You might be asking “What’s our strategy going into this? When and how should we use these posts?” What kind of resources are needed to make this happen? I’ll briefly look into all of these. Here’s where we get into the technical specs of the trends system.

Strategy

In order for certain things to trend, you need plenty of those posts. Twitter “trends” things when there is a minimum post of 1,001 posts connected to a certain trend term. Think of it as measuring things in pounds(lbs.). Anything less that 16 oz. won’t register on the lbs. scale. However, you need a minimum to get above the threshold- anything above 16 oz. That’s the same principle behind the trending system. Less than a 1,000 posts would be in oz. territory while more than a 1,000 is the in the lbs. territory. We need to get to the latter.

How do you take advantage of the the Twitter trends system? The use of certain key words is important to deciding what to use. For example, if lowering the voting age is our goal, it is best to use terms familiar to us, strategically, so that it makes the idea of lowering the voting age to 16 more possible. Refer to the examples above. You can use an endless bank of non-hashtag words, i.e. 16; H J Res 23; a person’s name, like Grace Meng, Nancy Pelosi; etc. However, you can only use one hashtag per post, that word you attach “#” symbol to, because Twitter’s current algorithm system considers posts with more than one hashtag to be spam posts when done frequently. It can also be detected if you share posts that have nothing to do with the hashtag, like using #16ToVote and instead of a link to an article to lower the voting age to 16, you put a link to your personal website where you sell used items like electronics or something. Be careful of what you post, so make sure to double check links you copy onto a post. Here’s a more in depth article about this.

I’m not saying you can’t do this. There are uses for that, like archival purposes on issues that you want to easily find at some later point. However, for posting with time constraints in a short period of time, like within 2 hours, this isn’t feasible. Only one hashtag is permitted- marketers with large followings had previously took advantage of the system trying to sell products in a spamming manner, using two or more hashtags per post so that their items would appear in multiple categories. Twitter recently tried to curtail this by limiting posts to one hashtag for this purpose as well as making a business Twitter section in order to limit advertising in this manner as well as benefit from selling promoted ads that companies can pay for instead. Save multiple hashtag posts for other times, not during trending events.

Redundancy is key to trending things. It is necessary to say the same things several times in order for things to trend. I know this can be tiring, but it’s true. Look at the example below. All mean the same thing, but the same person can use it without it being interpreted as spam by the algorithm:

I support @RepGraceMeng’s H J Res 23. Please lower the voting age to 16! #16ToVote

Please support @RepGraceMeng’s resolution to lower the voting age to 16, H J Res 23! #16ToVote

I agree that it is time to lower the voting age to 16- please show @RepGraceMeng you support H J Res 23 too! #16ToVote

H J Res 23 introduced by @RepGraceMeng will finally lower the voting age to 16. Please support it! #16ToVote

Let’s lower the voting age to 16. Please support H J Res 23 & @RepGraceMeng! #16ToVote

In the five examples above, they obviously mean more or less the same thing. They’re just five different ways to say it. It does sound repetitive, but it will go a long way in getting things to trend. This also helps you avoid a prompt (see below) if you copy and paste the same statement, since Twitter will tell you that you already posted this if you use the same exact thing word for word in a short period of time. This is why you have to use variations of it in order to be able to say the same thing to avoid the prompt- Twitter won’t let you post the same phrase more than once within the same day.

You can also mix things up by replacing Grace Meng’s name with co-sponsoring representatives of the bill. There are 17 co-sponsors for H J Res 23, meaning, including Rep. Meng, you have 18 ways to change up the examples above. You can also use @SpeakerPelosi or @TeamPelosi, Nancy Pelosi’s username handles on Twitter too. She’s a big supporting of lowering the voting age to 16, so she would probably be interested to see thousands of posts with #16ToVote in them. You can even use non-supporters, like @VP & @POTUS, who are of the same party as Speaker Pelosi and Reps Meng and Pressley.

Remember, when the bill goes up for discussion in the House, your representatives are the first group who will decide on the whether the bill advances to the senate. If you don’t know who your representative is, you can use this website to look them up. In this first round of voting, prioritize your posts towards your local representative. If you need additional ideas for posts, consider also reaching out to another representative near you if they’re not already a co-sponsor of H J Res 23.

So instead of like in the first example above where I wrote

I support @RepGraceMeng’s H J Res 23. Please lower the voting age to 16! #16ToVote,

you can now say

I support @AyannaPressley’s sponsorship of H J Res 23. Please lower the voting age to 16! #16ToVote.

I support @AyannaPressley’s sponsorship of Rep Grace Meng’s H J Res 23 bill. Please lower the voting age to 16! #16ToVote“.

If you had only that one example to work with, by changing the person and message just a little, you can easily double the number of posts you can make. If we’re lucky, we might even get Grace Meng, Ayanna Pressley, H J Res 23 and others to trend in addition to #16ToVote to trend!

There are endless possibilities to getting something to trend, with near infinite variations of posts that you can use. Not only does using a person’s username, their “@“, alert them that we support their effort and want to make a difference, it gives you multiple variations to use as posts without getting the prompt that says you have already posted this. A person can easily make hundreds of posts with the suggestions above. You would have plenty of material to work with. You might even change a politician’s mind if they see the bill has plenty of support if they’re not already leaning towards approving it. Your combined posts not only inform people who are not aware of the bill, but it can even change the mind of those who are aware of it and will actually be voting for the bill- in the first phase, that would those in the House of Representatives.

Think of it as campaigning for your proposition or candidate of choose, except you don’t have to show voter ID, live in the same district, go anywhere or even know what your representative looks like. You can campaign from the comfort of home or anywhere for that matter. All you need is access to Twitter, follow the examples I’ve provided and be willing to post on the day the bill is discussed for a minimum of two hours. That’s all there is to it.

The #16ToVote Hashtag

However, because you can only use one hashtag per post, #16ToVote would likely trend on Twitter if enough posts can be Tweeted from Twitter in a short amount of time. From what I’ve learned in my insider’s training camp at Twitter few years ago, this is around a period of about 2 hours. On slower days, like a weekday, trends can stay up even longer. This is important if you want to reach a wide audience- people who are online at that time, people who are watching the bill like us and later, people coming home from work or are otherwise not able to access Twitter at that time. They key is getting #16ToVote to trend. So if we have an exact date for when voting for H J Res 23 happens, we can coordinate with allies regardless of timezone. If you support lowering the voting age even just a little and want to help, there will be a way to do it!

So for example, if it is being voted on at 12 noon on March 17th, 2021, people in the eastern timezone can start posting around 11am- 1pm, so that the voting occurs in the middle of the voting for it. People on the west coast can join in at 8am until 10am PST. Even though our local times may be different, we’re effectively posting at the same time span. People in Mountain and Central times can also adjust posting time accordingly. The closer we can get an exact time for when the bill will be voted on, the more precisely we can coordinate and give exact times when you should post at your respective timezone.

If we have other national allies who want to help, they can synchronize to our timezone once we know what area they are in, so it’s not just people in the United States who can help us “Tweetstorm”. We can do likewise for other organizations when they have similar events or legislation in their parts of the world. We might even want to reach out and coordinate with them to see if they’d be willing to help out on this if we can help out if they have similar bills being looked at or events they are having to promote a cause. We just have to coordinate at the right times for our events and get details on them.

This is why if someone is willing to help out, it is also important they reach out to their networks, inside and outside their organization, for additional people to help make posts and state their timezone. It is understandable that organizations will have varying levels of investment in lowering the voting age. Some see it as their number one goal. Others see it as one of many. Others just loosely support it. However, more people posting means less posting per person and the more information we have on allies, the better we can coordinate and get a headcount to see if it’s possible.

Tweetstorming

You can use this example Tweetstorm kit for reference if you need guidelines, but obviously a new kit will have to be drafted for H J Res 23 or any other different event. The principles will be the same; only the info for the event and content for posts would actually change. There is no current info for place or time at this moment for H J Res, so right now, this works in our favor. Things like the example above and hashtag rules will stay the same, though. I keep an eye for specific info from various sources, so I’ll be sure to update my network if I hear anything. Likewise, if you don’t hear anything from me, my email is below also, so reach out to me if you think anything is worth mentioning. I’ll be glad to talk to any supporter regardless of your organization affiliation.

Another key to getting something to trend is how large your group is and how many people can devote to posting. One person can come up with hundreds of posts, but it would be impossible to post them all in a short period of time. Even if a person made a post once every minute for a two hour span, the most that person could write is 120 posts- not nearly enough to trend something. This is obviously not a one-person operation or even a one organization one for that matter- it’s a team effort. For a bill that has nationwide effects, I encourage all groups to coordinate together. This bill, if passed, doesn’t affect just on city or state, it affects all potential voters in the United States.

The bigger our group is, the higher the chance of success for something to trend. It goes with the adage “More people means less work” or “Many hands make light work”. How does it work for the particular principle for trending on Twitter? Here’s an example:

1 person posting ~ = 1,001 posts needed

2 people posting~ = 500 posts needed per person.

5 people posting~ = 200 posts per person

10 people posting~= 100 posts per person

20 people posting~= 50 posts per person

etc.

As you can see, the more people involved in Tweetstorming, the more likely a post will trend & less posts are required per person to pass the “Trending quota.” Of course, you don’t have to follow the exact posting recipe; if 10 people on our team were Tweetstorming, one person might post 97 posts, while another might do 103. Now, imagine that 100 people volunteered. You’d roughly need just 10 posts per person. That’s not hard considering if the average person posted once an hour in a 24-hour period while they were awake, assuming they sleep 8 hours a day, they could easily make 16 posts a day talking about random things, like what they ate, the weather, a meme they saw, something in the news, etc.. Here, we would only need you to post for a couple of hours. You would be free to enjoy the rest of your day.

How do we know who does what and how many posts are made? We really won’t know unless we go to their profile and start counting. Obviously, no one will have the time or resources to do this in the middle of a Tweetstorm, so we’re just going to have to operate on the honor’s system. I advise aiming for 5 to 10 additional posts to make up for what your team isn’t able to cover. If you aim to make 100 posts on that day, try to go for 105 to 110. I don’t doubt, with the number of organizations that have expressed support for lowering the voting age to 16, there are easily thousands in membership among the many groups.

Think about your immediate circle. What about chapters? Consider reaching out to organizations that have expressed lowering the voting age. If even 500 people posted 2 posts while H J Res 23 is being voted on, you could easily trend something related to it within minutes. I think most people who are supportive of something like this that has nationwide effects would be interested in playing a part in making it happen. This is why it is crucial to have as many people on board as possible- the more people posting on its behalf, not only would you need less people to make it trend, but the faster it would also start trending.

This type of posting not only means that a few people would be needed in putting up posts that conform to Twitter’s exact guidelines in order to be counted(rules), but those persons would also need to devote a specific portion of their time for the day when posting is necessary( the schedule). There is still no exact date on when H J Res 23 will be up for a vote- yet. As you can see, this would require some really devoted people/organizations because this is impossible to do with only a few people(coordination).

With larger groups like sports or celebrity fans, this level of planning is not needed. If ten thousand posts are randomly generated by those fans, with half (5,000) not being counted because it’s not formatted right, but the other half are, then you can see it will still trend. Posts can easily go up to the tens of thousands. However, for smaller groups of less than a hundred, planning is not only necessary but essential to making this plan succeed. There’s very little room for error when your group is small. However, I’m confident with the size our network and allies, we can close that gap and allow for some margin of error.

I am hoping, for those who are reading, regardless of your organizational membership, your follower count size or how new you are to empowering youth, that you can reach out to as many people as possible in your network and outside your orbit. I think far too many bills to advance youth rights don’t succeed because many of its supporters don’t coordinate on a campaign to help bring awareness and find supporters for them. Many people don’t know or even hear about it unless it’s a passing reference in some paper that says the bill failed. What makes this bill different is that it concerns federal legislation, not one city or state- this enfranchises all working, income taxpaying youth in the United States. So for all organizations working towards this goal, regardless of your region, this should be of some interest to you. I’m assuming for the most part, we’re all based within the United States. As a result, we should similarly be “united” in our efforts to lower the voting age and enfranchise more voters across the nation.

The objective this time, given the favorable political environment that we have in terms of politicians in office who support this as well a high dependence on electronic platforms like Twitter during the pandemic, is help bring attention to H J Res 23 and encourage its passage. This is a potentially strong and opportune time to make this happen. I have watched numerous events go on in the last year since the pandemic began, for various issues ranging from climate activism to voter rights to events/protests and haven’t seen any preferred hashtags trend, despite various groups making their own Tweetstorm/social media kits, while posts of less importance have easily trended. What one wears to an award show or whatever goofy meme someone can think of doesn’t have as much importance as enfranchising voter who have contributed to their local economies, paid taxes on their income, lived with the tragedy of a nationwide pandemic while balancing decisions made on their behalf on what direction their schooling will take during this difficult time. I believe we can change this by advocating for lowering the voting age specifically if we have a guide to follow and coordinate with those who want to help.

This is why I have given much importance on this topic as well as shared my knowledge with those are willing to listen and act on it, and call on all organizations who can make a difference to band together. This is a big issue that goes beyond one person or organization. None of us can do this alone. I cannot do this alone. You who are reading can’t, and it’s probably safe to say anyone organization in this fight can’t do it alone. We share more or less the same ideals- giving a voice to those that don’t have one, so that they can make a difference in a world that they will inherit tomorrow on issues that affect them today. We can and will make a difference if we work together. Let’s work on a plan and have faith in it.

Summary

There isn’t much else to it. I’ve covered most of the main parts here. I will throw in an additional guide prior to discussion for H J res 23 when we get an exact date and time for it. The above material should be a starting point as well as provide rational for why teamwork is essential for this endeavor. To summarize, whether or not something trends with smaller groups and their allies will depend on three important factors:

1) The ability to adhere to the posting guidelines as closely as possible (following platform format rules so your post counts and it trends).

2) The time and manner when the Tweets are posted (the schedule so that it can trend when most of us are posting).

3) How efficient we and our allies can coordinate with the first two (planning together and coordinating with each other on this strategy).

All three elements are essential. It won’t work unless all three are done together. Think of these simplified examples: If we can put plenty of posts and get the timing right, but don’t format the posts correctly, nothing will trend. If we make plenty of posts, do the formatting correctly but don’t post within a strategic time frame, it won’t trend either. Lastly, if people make posts and Tweet them out at the right time, but there’s only a few of us able to do it, nothing will trend either. You need a dedicated team, willing to put posts that will count and are formatted correctly and be willing to post around the time frame that H J Res 23 goes up for discussion.

Closing

Trending isn’t about being put on a pedestal and telling people what we want. We already support lowering the voting age to 16. I suspect people in office who support it already know many organizations out there support it, but they don’t always see that support. The goal of trending is to let the people unaware of issues like lowering the voting age to 16 or H J Res 23 to be made more aware of them. At the same time, this also makes those aware who support the bill know we are appreciative of their efforts and are doing our part.

Think of it like a virtual protest- people don’t gather in large crowds waving signs in hopes of not getting noticed. Quite the opposite. They want their issues heard, maybe even taken up by their representatives or noticed by a reporter. Tweeting with a purpose with the goal of trending in mind is just like this- we trying to be heard so that others can be heard. What good is campaigning for something if we don’t work on a strategy to make it a success? We need a blueprint for it and I have provided one as far as an online strategy goes. Feel free to pass it around and consider it free advice.

By trending something on Twitter, you can do away with worrying about phonebanking, sending emails or talking to a person face to face to inform them about these issues or H J Res 23. We can use a free resource at our disposal to reach out to as many people as possible as well as let our allies know, both organizations and those in office, that we want to make #16ToVote happen. I think we can make this happen if we work just a little bit more with our other allies around the globe.

If you found any of this information enlightening, then do please share it. I didn’t write this for my own benefit- it’s to help your particular organization’s goals if you want to do some online campaigning for just about any issue. Additionally, if you have any questions on how to use this, need clarification on anything and/or want to help, please reach out to me and I’ll do what I can. Thanks and good luck!

-Jеstеr Jеrsеy

@DavisKiwanian@mail.com

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