Twitter and NRLC 2010: A Very
As the NRLC convention staff
slowly peek our heads up through the mast of post-convention
unpacking and return to a normal sleep schedule, we can finally
mentally debrief and start composing thoughts for next year's
Jacksonville convention by looking at the impact the 2010
So let's look at one way the
convention had an impact: Twitter.
NRLC Communications Staff
worked creatively to
promote the contributors of speakers such as
Monsignor Jim Lisante.
If you're a reader of Today's
News & Views or National Right to Life News Today, you know
we've talked a lot about Twitter and the ways it can help boost
(and spread) the pro-life message to the world at large. A good
shorthand definition is "Twitter is a free social networking
website that lets users share short messages, known as 'tweets',
with their circle of friends." (The maximum number of characters
The NRLC 2010 convention gave us
a chance to see if we're practicing what we preach.
Without getting too geeky, you
can analyze the level of Twitter traffic by searching for "hashtags"
(like keywords in a Google search). Beginning at twitter.com if
you add the # sign and a keyword like "nrlc," "abortion," or
"pro-life," you can track the Twitter updates ("tweets")
relating to your topic.
Searching for "nrlc" on Twitter,
I found almost two-hundred individual tweets going back to
Wednesday the 23rd of June using the "nrlc" hashtag.
If you think of each individual
tweet as (in a sense) an email forwarded to ones list of friends
and contacts, that's a lot of traffic.
But that's not all. Consider that
there were only a few dedicated Twitterers on site at the
convention generating that traffic. A high percentage of tweets
using the #nrlc hashtag were from "retweets." These are Twitter
users who saw this online traffic and of their own volition
I had the great pleasure of using
Twitter to meet new pro-life friends at the convention. Two
young enterprising pro-life bloggers considered the convention
worth the time and effort to travel to all the way from New
Through Twitter I was able to
meet them, get to know them, and eventually have a very
enjoyable face to face conversation in Pittsburgh.
It's worth mentioning that one of
them has six hundred followers on Twitter who saw his constant
tweeting of the convention online all weekend long!
How can we think about how our
social media efforts can help us increase the reach of our
pro-life message? It helps to think of the process as one very
large conversation amongst individuals who are trying to find
like-minded people who share a common interest.
To give a real world example,
office "water cooler" talk is a chance to talk about things that
interest us and educate others. F;kydor example, "Say, did you
hear about unborn pain? I was at this convention and found out
that children in the womb can feel pain as early as twenty
weeks.") Online social networking tools give us the chance to do
Nothing is as effective as real
world face-to-face interaction with those around us. But as
people take to the internet to communicate and gather
information more and more, we have a chance to amplify the reach
of our message to an ever wider and wider audience.
I'll continue to re-iterate the
point that taking to the web always requires extra diligence and
care in checking for accuracy and3125ooooooooooooo tone in our
message. But of the individuals who took the effort to retweet
content about the convention, many might not have otherwise even
heard of the convention and the material presented there, or had
the opportunity to help in turn spread the pro-life message.
A very good effort on the whole
for us at the 2010 NRLC convention. Just think how many more
pro-lifers we can have online for us in Jacksonville next
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