Saturday, January 25, 2014

6 Steps for Successful Social Media Activism

 Recap of Progressive Voices, New Media: A Louisiana Social Media and Blogging Summit

LSU, Jan. 25, 2014
Dayne Sherman

Despite icy weather and an interstate that was a parking lot, I was able to join the esteemed group of activists and bloggers for the Progressive Voices Summit (The archived video coming soon:

The panel I participated in was moderated by LSU Professor Bob Mann, a columnist for the Times-Picayune and blogger. My co-panelists were Zack Kopplin and Lance Porter.

For my part, I stumbled through six points and answered questions afterward. For Social Media (Facebook, Twitter, etc.), I offered a few practical suggestions.
  1. Say something. Provide your readers with meaningful content. Be the truth squad and not a mere trivial writer (ie, posting on Facebook about your cats). By providing good content, you'll be providing a meaningful service.

  1. Be clean. In other words, lay off the foul language and foul images. “Hell” and “damn” are in the Bible, and they are often acceptable. But the audience doesn't need profanity nor do they need to see photos of someone's anatomy. Being clean doesn't mean you need to be milquetoast. You can be persistent, powerful, and even a little mean while staying clean.
  1. Beware of the “Twitter Police.” Be careful about perceived spam or other overly zealous posting to keep from being censured by Twitter. Getting on the Twitter bad list can occur without warning or explanation.
  1. Put pressure on weak spots. When trying to bring about social change, understand who or what is vulnerable to pressure and address the need for change in that particular arena. For example, Gov. Jindal's educational voucher program is a farce. Don't let up. Common Core is another vulnerability in his fake education reform agenda. Expose it for what it is: a cash grab that won't work.
  1. Start or join a group. Facebook has many groups and they are easy to find, join, and start based on your interests. This is a great way to stay informed and work with others for a common goal.
  2. Download two programs if you have a Smart Phone: The Free Mobile Member Guide for the 113th Congress and the 2014 PAR Guide to the Louisiana Legislature It will be out soon and costs $2.99. With these two guides, you can learn more about legislators and contact them quickly. 
    Here's a trick to use when contacting Louisiana legislators: My state senator is Mack "Bodi" White. As an example, his public e-mail is Unfortunately, this will go to his office, and he may never see it. Better, send it to both the advertised e-mail address and his laptop/cell phone address by flipping the first letters of the public e-mail address to This works for most legislative e-mail addresses.

In short, don't give up on your hobbies or adventures as you try to change things for the better. I'll leave you with a long quote by the late author Edward Abbey that sums it all up from my perspective:

"One final paragraph of advice: Do not burn yourself out. Be as I am-a reluctant enthusiast... a part time crusader, a half-hearted fanatic. Save the other half of yourselves and your lives for pleasure and adventure. It is not enough to fight for the land; it is even more important to enjoy it. While you can. While it is still there. So get out there and mess around with your friends, ramble out yonder and explore the forests, encounter the grizz, climb the mountains. Run the rivers, breathe deep of that yet sweet and lucid air, sit quietly for a while and contemplate the precious stillness, that lovely, mysterious and awesome space. Enjoy yourselves, keep your brain in your head and your head firmly attached to your body, the body active and alive, and I promise you this much: I promise you this one sweet victory over our enemies, over those deskbound people with their hearts in a safe deposit box and their eyes hypnotized by desk calculators. I promise you this: you will outlive the bastards." –Edward Abbey

From The Earth Speaks 57 (Steve Madre and Bill Weiler, eds.. 1983). Some believe the remarks were made at a conference in Vail, Colorado, in 1976. Other contend that they were spoken at a meeting in Missoula, Montana, in 1978. Quoted in WILLIAM H. RODGERS, JR., AND ENVIRONMENTAL LAW: NEVER GIVE UP, KEEP ON GOING. Bonine, John E. Washington Law Review; Aug 2007; 82, Pp. 487-488.

Thanks for reading.
Dayne Sherman, Writer & Speaker
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***This message speaks only for the writer, a citizen, not for any present or past employer.***