In just over a week thousands will gather for the 2011 General Assembly of the Untiarian Universalist Association of Congregations! In recent years we’ve seen an explosion in the use of online technology to report on and follow GA news. The last three years I’ve participated in GA via streaming video, Facebook and Twitter. This year I’m looking forward to using social media while being at General Assembly in Charlotte, NC. Each year I like to share a brief guide to Twitter at GA. Here’s the 2011 edition. Whether you use Twitter or not, it is good to know how it works and how UUs will be using Twitter during General Assembly.
See you and TWEET you at GA ~ Peter
On Twitter @uuplanet
Twitter in Brief
Twitter is a website (www.twitter.com) that lets users broadcast 140 character messages.
- Why 140 characters? Because that’s what text messages on older cell phones can handle.
- Who gets the messages? Anyone who chooses to “Follow” that user by going to their Twitter profile page (here’s mine) and clicking the “Follow” button.
- What do messages say? Anything and everything from what people are doing in the moment to breaking news and sharing links.
- You can see what people are saying about GA on Twitter by searching for the the official hashtag for this event, see #uuaga below.
#UUAGA – What’s Happening Right Now
Twitters ability to broadcast “What’s happening now” has emerged as a great way for people to report on live events in a grass roots fashion. It also allows for people to coordinate on the ground action such as choosing to attend specific events, planning short notice meet-ups, etc…
In order to make it possible to follow a specific event, those “tweeting” about an event add what they call a hashtag to their messages. A hashtag is simply the # symbol followed by a keyword or string of characters.
The official hashtag for all UUA General Assemblies has been set for #UUAGA. In previous years a different tag was used, but we’ve moved to a tag that is 100% unique to our association and could be claimed for this and future General Assemblies.
UUA GA Live Stream
From a desktop computer, the easiest way to follow General Assembly is via the UUA GA Live Stream page. During GA this page will feature live streaming video, chatroom, Twitter and Facebook integration. If you go to the UUA GA Live Stream page and click on the Twitter tab, it will call up all tweets for #UUAGA.
- Watch Live Coverage http://www.livestream.com/uuaga
Now that the UUA is using Live Stream, a great way to increase interest in General Assembly is to embed the Live Stream player directly onto your congregations website. Why not feature the GA live video feed right on your page? A great way to let your sites visitors know what we’re all about. I’ve already added the player to the front page of unitarianuniversalism.tv.
If you’re using Twitter on a mobile device, simply call up the results for #UUAGA. Every Twitter app has a search feature. Make sure to include the # sign. On it isn’t the official hashtag if it doesn’t have to # at the front. Searching for UUAGA will NOT call up the primary #UUAGA conversation. Search for #uuaga. You may also access tweets for GA by going to the Twitter Search page at http://search.twitter.com/ and searching for that tag.
- Click here to see results for #UUAGA right now.
PLEASE add #UUGA to your tweets!
If you use Twitter and are tweeting about General Assembly, make sure to tag your tweets #UUAGA. If you don’t your tweets will not be part of the conversation people are accessing by following that tag. In short, if you don’t tag, you aren’t part of the conversation. People following your account are able to see your tweets without tags, but the rest of us need the specific hashtag in order to bring your tweets into our #UUAGA conversation.
- See the UU Social Media Lab’s growing Directory of UU Hashtags.
UUs on Twitter
If you are on twitter and would like to start following other UU’s, the UUA maintains lists of Unitarian Universalist congregations, UUA Staff and programs, and related organizations on Twitter. Twitter’s “lists” feature allows a user to compile groups of people they are following. Others may go to that list and choose to follow that list. If you click to follow a list, such as uua-programs-and-offices, you will automatically follow all of the people added to that list over time. This is a great way to get started.
Other Lists of UU’s
My Twitter Accounts
- UU Tweets including UU Growth Blog posts @uuplanet
- Interfaith consulting work @Congregations (new)
- Unitarian Universalism TV new video alerts @uutv
- The secular side of my life @peter_bowden
I use the free Tweetdeck application to keep my accounts organized in columns and post to whichever account I choose using the Hootsuite browser toolbar. If you’re managing multiple accounts, don’t log in and out from account to account, use tools designed for multiple account management. I recommend Tweetdeck. It can post to multiple Twitter accounts, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc…