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Cybermobbing just got easier

Did you find yourself scratching your head and saying, "so what?" as you read about the Cybermobbing trend in Mapping the Future of Your Association (1 MB PDF), ASAE's most recent environmental scanning project? The trend reads:

Cybermobbing: The channels of political infl uence are broadening to include digital broadcast media that offer specialized forums for political discussion and Web-based communities that practice “swarm advocacy” and “smart mobbing.” To attract support for their positions in this crowded public arena—and to gain the attention of elected offi cials, regulators, and agencies—associations must develop a creative, multi-pronged, and Web-savvy approach to advocacy.
I suggest that you read the Wikipedia entry on smart mobs referenced here. The Mississippi Hospital Association, employer of one of my fellow Acronym bloggers, Shawn Lea, is already using tactics rooted in cybermobbing. Using text messages, the Mississippi Hospital Association can inform their constituents that a vote on a particular issue is about to occur, and that they should phone their representative to advocate on the association's position.

I know what you're thinking: So what?

There's a relatively new (and free) web service that has recently captured the tech community's attention in a big way: Twitter. Twitter allows anyone to create a text messaging network in a matter of seconds and send text messages (or tweets, as they're called by Twitter users) via the web, instant message or cell phone to anyone who chooses to opt in to the network. The service is getting more popular by the hour, and businesses are already figuring out ways to leverage Twitter. Bands send reminders about tonight's gig. Small businesses use it as a kind of mini blog. Realtors use it

The barrier to entry on mass texting used to be quite high. Now it's just a few clicks away. How could you use Twitter in an association? Here are a few ideas:

  • Use it during conferences to update attendees about changes in the schedule or room locations. Communicating with attendees in the hours following the fire at ASAE & The Center's most recent Great Ideas Conference could have been greatly facilitated with text messages.
  • Use it with your employees to inform them if the office is closing due to weather or power outage or some other emergency.
  • Use it to provide up to the minute reporting on important developments in the legislative, regulatory or judicial arenas.
  • Sign up for Twitter, get a glimpse of what it's about, and I'm sure you can come up with more great ideas. Here are two Twitter clones, though to be fair, Txtmob pre-dates Twitter. Txtmob and Jaiku.


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