As an Advocate, How do you use Social Media

Often when I am invited to do a presentation, the person introducing me will ask the audience to turn off, or silence their cell phones.  I appreciate the courtesy, but will often reverse this request and ask people to keep their cell phones on; and, if in the course of my presentation, if inspired, to take a photo of a slide I am using, or to post/tweet on social media information they are hearing.

Now most of us these days use some form of social media, and we use these sites to share, or compare, or rant, or recommend.  And, for most of us, there are 3 major platforms that often serve this purpose - Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.  Of course there is Instagram, Snapchat, and others, but the 3 mentioned seem to be the most common in my spheres.

For advocates who are looking to promote a cause or situation, it is important to understand how posting something you are hearing at a conference can have the most impact.  In the work I do, I try to use all 3, but there are some key differences we should understand in being Social Media Advocates.  That is, Facebook, which seems to be the most dominant platform, is primarily a social outlet.  This is where we mostly see what people or eating, or birthday photos of a relative, or travel photos from exotic trips.  Certainly posting something informative or instructive works on this platform, but is often lost in the social clutter.

LinkedIn is thought to be a vocational site, where people look to get job or sales leads.  Here people are posting things that promote their business or get people to know their companies or products.  Again, as advocates for some social cause we can use this platform, but again, the message might get caught in the vocational clutter.

This brings us to Twitter.  Certainly any of us reading this post know that the President of the US is a "Twitter addict," using this media most every night to advocate something or another.  Of course most of his Tweets are attacking and put people down, but are still effective in what he is advocating, which seems to be his bully-ism or bias.  For me however, the major thing I like about Twitter is that unlike Facebook and LinkedIn, which mandate that the people you connect with or "friend," agree to accept your connection, Twitter allows you to follow whomever you are interested in hearing from.  This feature, a key difference, makes Twitter, I believe, a more potent advocacy platform.

So two key take-a-ways here - one is get on Twitter and to post about that which you are passionate.  For me, as a disability advocate, I try to post on things that are progressive to the inclusion of all people movement.  The second issue, is to chose to follow those folks that inspire, educate, or share aspects that are instructive to your advocacy role.  On an upcoming blog, I will share with you some of the folks/groups I follow who share items I have found to be helpful in the cause of disability advocacy.

In the meantime, get active on Social Media and share your passions with the world!