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Post-Orlando social media and social engagement

Posted on Friday, June 17, 2016

It would be hard to dispute that last weekend's shooting in Orlando has amplified the debate between those who want all assault weapons banned and those defending Second Amendment rights without exception.

Today — regardless of where you stand on this divisive issue — what catches our professional attention about this intense public and policymaker debate is the use of new technologies to rally supporters and nudge them to action.

There have been new websites, Facebook pages, and countless Twitter accounts born out of the heightened discourse.

There has been a proliferation of new online petitions — which we usually believe to be ineffective. It does not help that so many organizations have launched so many and that there is little historical track record for results from previous online petitions.

We have to admit that social media channels are on fire.

The National Rifle Association is relentless with Twitter posts, robocalls, Facebook posts, and emails ... less so with its Google+, Instagram, and Snapchat accounts (although its Nevada referendum Snapchat geofilters are smart). So far this week, the NRA's simple ‪#‎2A hashtag (for Second Amendment advocacy) has reached 7.5M timelines.

However, we have been most impressed by the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence's text-based initiative. Using other social media channels to promote the action. Supporters are encouraged to use their mobile phones to text DISARM HATE to 877-877.

But it does not stop there.

The supporter then receives a text back, stating the Brady Campaign's post-Orlando message. It also asks for the user's Zip code.

If you reply with your Zip code, the app responds with a message of what the user can tell their U.S. Senator. Then, and this part impressed us most, the reply text states that if you text back GO, the app will automatically connect you with one of your U.S. Senators' offices in our nation's capitol.

If the software determines your state's Senator is strongly opposed to gun control ... the app routes you to the Washington DC offices of another Senator who might be more on the bubble.


We'll have to wait to see if it is also effective.

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