STOP Tweeting and start doing!
Updated: Jul 22
I read a tweet that really upset me.
It was from Adam Kinsinger, the Illinois Congressman, who is one of two Republicans serving on the House panel investigating the Jan. 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol.
The tweet contained a photo of a letter sent to his wife threatening to execute Kinsinger and proclaiming (in the name of God), that she and her son would join him in hell.
Now while I can’t say that I share most of the Congressman’s political views, I don’t think any public servant – whether they are an elected official, hired staff, or dedicated volunteer (such as a poll worker), should be threatened with death for doing their job. And I’m sure any rational human being would agree with that statement.
But while I might have derived a moment of satisfaction sharing his tweet and my response to it, that action really accomplished nothing other than sharing my thoughts with my Twitter community.
Same for all of the ranting that I and thousands of other social media users have been doing lately concerning any number of Supreme Court decisions.
Now you may believe that ranting online is good for your health (although, mental health experts say otherwise).
What does help your mental health is taking action!
Making a phone call or sending an email to your elected officials really does make a difference (and of the two, phone calls are thought to be the most effective means of communication)!
I’m not taking about what my friend, John McNutt, a noted researcher on nonprofit advocacy and lobbying, refers to as “Advocacy in a box” – a product that sits on an organization’s website that among, other things, tells you who to call and gives you a script that you can repeat in an email or phone call.
Using YOUR OWN WORDS and YOUR OWN voice to express yourself to legislators will make you feel empowered!
And, if you get a few friends to join you, you’ll feel even better!
To maximize your effectiveness, make your calls polite, brief, and factually-based. Be sure to tell the person you’re speaking with that you are a constituent of the legislator – that is, someone who is registered to vote and lives in the legislator’s district. This is important to say to anyone who represents you – your city councilperson, county supervisor, state elected officials, mayor, governor, congressperson, senator, etc.).
If you stop to think about it, it makes perfect sense. Sure, legislators read their Twitter feed and Facebook comments, but they listen primarily to the people they are elected to represent.
If everyone would take five minutes once a week to stop looking at their screens and instead use their phones to make calls to their elected officials, we might begin to make some real progress in this country.
I’m not saying that using social media isn’t worthwhile. It is! In my view, the best use of it for advocacy is to share information and encourage others to take action!
Please don’t stand by the sidelines and complain! Use your beautiful voice during these crazy times to advocate for the things you care about.
Together we CAN move the needle.
If you want to do a deeper dive and learn more about influencing the legislative process, check out my new book The Empowered Citizens Guide: 10 steps to passing a law that matters to you.
Pat Libby is a change management consultant working principally with nonprofit corporations. She is author of The Empowered Citizens Guide: 10 Steps to Passing a Law that Matters to You, Oxford University Press, The Lobbying Strategy Handbook, second edition, Oxford University Press, and Cases in Nonprofit Management, SAGE. She has served as an academic, senior executive, board member, and consultant to innumerable nonprofit organizations and foundations for more than three decades.
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