Email Lists and Discussion Groups
CODEPINK local groups communicate by email discussion groups. You can start your own free email discussion group using Google Groups. Make sure to inform members of the group about what content is visible only to the group, and what content is visible to the public.
Moderating Online Discussions
Here are a few tips for a successful online discussion group.
- When somebody new joins the discussion group, make them feel welcome and encourage them to participate. It is also a good idea to have a written copy of some ground rules for online discussions either in a “welcome” email or on the home page for your discussion group. Some of the “ground rules” for facilitating group meetings can also apply to moderating online discussions. Check them out!
- Avoid flooding members' inboxes with too many emails. Members can choose to receive a daily (or weekly) digest in a single email. Another way is to moderate messages by approving them before they are sent out.
- When posting, ask yourself whether a particular discussion topic or response should be addressed to everybody, or whether it should be addressed only to certain individuals in the group. This will cut down on the number of unnecessary emails the rest of the group receives, and may avoid a flurry of unpleasant or too personal emails.
- When a topic becomes heated, often there are valid concerns raised in the discussion. Instead of backing away from conflict entirely, set boundaries to keep the discussion productive. Avoid personal “ad feminem” attacks. Focus on the issues being raised. Remind everyone of the ground rules for all discussions; during intense debates they are especially important.
- Learn to identify “trolls,” who post provocative things for the sake of being offensive. Be mindful of the difference between a troll and somebody who is expressing a minority opinion, but is still respectful of the group and of the ground rules for posting. One way to reduce the chances of getting trolled is to know who your members are, and moderate posting and prevent problematic messages from being distributed to your members. If you get a troll posting, the best thing to do is to immediately ban them from the group, refuse to engage with their antics, and move on.
- Although one person might be designated the founder or owner of the group, there should be more than one member with moderator privileges. Delegating responsibility for moderation and sharing duties not only helps more people be actively involved, it also avoids the dreaded “bottleneck.” Make sure your members know who the moderators are, and make sure your moderating team is aware of the ground rules and how to use online features to ensure productive discussions.
Using Social Media
Social media is a great tool for activism. CODEPINK uses several forms of social media to spread our pink message.
CODEPINK national is on Facebook! “Like” our page to receive our status updates in your news feed. You can also start a public page for your own CODEPINK local group, campaign or fundraising project; anyone who is interested in your local group or campaign can “like” your page to receive updates about current and upcoming actions. Please do NOT use your CODEPINK Facebook page for your own personal business. A Facebook group for your local CODEPINK group can facilitate online discussions between members and is different from a page. Add other CODEPINK activists as friends and share photos, videos, and links to start online (and offline) discussions. For ideas on how to use Facebook in activism, please read this blog by Maine codepinker Lisa Savage.
CODEPINK national and many local groups and individual activists are on Twitter. Follow @codepink and our campaigns such as @boycottahava, @occupyaipac, @wardroneson, @exposewarcrimes. You can also follow our staff - see their twitter handles here.
Twitter is great practice for being succinct, since posts—“tweets”—can't exceed 140 characters in length. If you see a tweet you like, you can re-tweet (RT) it to your own followers. You can also modify your re-tweets (MT). Hashtags are another way to participate in discussions of topics using keywords: #codepink, #woccupy, #nodrones. There are many pro-peace, feminist, and social justice hashtags on Twitter, and it can also be fun to juxtapose your anti-war message with a humorous hashtag, such as #fail, #sarcasm, #lulz (means Laughs in internet speak), #thingsthatpissmeoff . If you want to include other Twitter users in your tweets, use their handles: @codepink, @wardollarshome, @truthsetfree, @BoycottAHAVA, @ExposeWarCrimes. Finally, while there is no recommended maximum number of tweets per day, it is generally a good idea to space your tweets by about 30 minutes, especially if they are on the same topic.
You can't always fit your thoughts in 140 characters, so -- start a blog! There are several free blog services online, including Blogspot, Wordpress, and many others. You can also post comments on other people's blogs. CODEPINK's blog, PinkTank, is here.
Other Social Media Resources
YouTube is a popular site for uploading videos. CODEPINK's channel is here.
Flickr is one of several websites where you can upload photos and share them. Here is CODEPINK's Flickr stream.
It's a great idea to use one form of social media to draw attention to content that has been posted on another. For example, if you see a link on Twitter that gets you fired up, you can write about it on your own blog, and then post a link to your blog post on Facebook!