Twitter (www.twitter.com) is a free social networking and micro-blogging service that allows its users to send and read other users' updates (otherwise known as tweets), which are text-based posts of up to 140 characters in length.
WHY TWITTER IS USEFUL FOR ORGANIZING
In short, you can communicate with a large number of people by sending one short text message. In order to fully utilize the potential of Twitter, you need to encourage people (especially your members) to follow your group on Twitter AND to enable mobile device updates for your tweets.
Here are a few specific ways that Twitter can be useful for your organizing efforts.
First, you need to set up a Tweet Group which you can do in a few easy steps using Group Tweet (http://grouptweet.com/). After you set up a Tweet Group, you can send your members useful information that pertains to your chapter’s work and the issues on which your chapter is focusing. The key is to be very judicious in deciding when to Tweet this way. Even though you’re limited to the 140 characters per tweet, you can shorten longer URLs using Tiny URL (www.tinyurl.com), embed pictures through TwitPic (www.twitpic.com), or send video with Twiddeo (www.beta.twiddeo.com).
If all of your chapter members are following your group on Twitter (www.grouptweet.com to set up a Tweet group), you can tweet folks to remind them about upcoming meetings or do Twitter polls (twitter.polldaddy.com) if you need to decide when to schedule meetings. Even if you send emails about meetings, people can forget about them hours or minutes after they’ve read that message. A quick Tweet might be all they need to remind them.
Twitter can be a great tool to organize actions, especially at the last minute. Although everyone has e-mail, everyone doesn’t check every e-mail message every day. Text messages are read by many more people. If you’re able to get a large number of people following your group, you could tweet them about a rally and ask them to RSVP by calling a number, emailing a specific address, etc to get a hard count of people. While at that rally, you could tweet folks to let everyone know to assembly at a certain place at a certain time to march in unison somewhere else or to get more leaflets to distribute, etc. A perfect example of this is when San Francisco activists used Twitter to organize and coordinate a rally/march to mark the fifth anniversary of the Iraq War.
TRACK YOUR PROGRESS
Once you commit to using Twitter, you can use the following resources to track your progress.
Intwition (www.intwition) tracks what links are, were or will be popular on Twitter.
Twitterverse (www.twitterverse.com) is an at-a-glance source for finding out what users are most commonly tweeting today.
Tweet Clouds (www.tweetclouds.com) tells you what a given Twitter user most commonly tweets.
TweetStats (www.tweetstats.com) provides colourful graphs on month-to-month Twitter use, daily and hourly tweets, people replied to most, interfaces preferred, for individual Twitter users. (It has been used in the past to identify bots — one good reason to avoid playing dirty on Twitter.)
HELPFUL LINKS FOR MORE TWITTER INFO
Twitter Tools for Journalists (really anybody)
San Francisco activists use Twitter to organize anti-war rally
Using Twitter to build brand identity
101 Must See Twitter Resources
USEFUL TWITTER COMMANDS
@username + message - A message directed at a specific user - be careful, everyone can see this!
D username + message - A direct message to a specific user that no one else can see!
WHOIS username - get profile info from any public Twitter user
GET username - see latest tweet of the specified user
NUDGE username - remind a twitter user to update their tweets!
FAV username - "marks a person’s last twitter as a favorite. (hint: reply to any update with FAV to mark it as a favorite if you’re receiving it in real time)"
STATS - returns your number of followers, how many people you’re following, and which words you’re tracking
America’s Next Top New Media Organizer – Twitter Tips
By Vincent Jones