Major civil rights and social justice organizations are popping up on Twitter and Facebook. Now celebrating its 100th year, the NAACP is expanding on Facebook, while Urban League chapters are building presence on Twitter.
The National Urban League’s Twitter account has been all business–just a few tweets with specific info on events, media appearances, and the like. It would be great to see more of the inner workings of the organization, but its not a bad start. The Milwaukee Urban League Young Professionals account, on the other hand, is much chattier, interspersing updates on chapter activities with some personal updates. The difference between the two accounts seems typical of what happens in large organizations: the national office is the information source, and the local office has the closer connection with day to day members and constituents. The tweets from the MULYP group feel really relevant to both local and national issues and news of interest to members in that community.
Right now there is an NAACP account on Twitter, with no updates. However, that should change soon with the hiring of their new media relations manager (you may have seen the job pop up on this site recently). The first line of the job description says “Provide regular web content,” so its probably safe to assume this job will be the NAACP’s official Twitterer, blogger, Facebooker, etc.
The Urban League’s upcoming Annual Conference in Chicago is being promoted on Facebook via the Thursday Network, the Urban League’s Young Professionals group in the DC-area, which boasts hundreds of members and regularly sends updates of interest to professionals in the region. Otherwise, there isn’t a national presence on Facebook yet, but until then, the Thursday Network is doing a good job of maintaining a successful and informative group.
On the other hand, the NAACP has a large presence on Facebook. The youth section of the organization has created a robust Facebook group that has more than 4,000 members and features regular video updates and conversations (not surprisingly many are posts about race) on its wall. There are also several groups for specific NAACP chapters around the country, all seemingly run by local NAACP members. But then, in one of the downsides of social media marketing, there are a bunch of groups that have a few members, but its not really clear who runs them. They could be affiliated with the national office or not–a search for NAACP on Facebook shows multiple groups under the name, so if someone was quickly looking for a group, they could end up in one of the many that has one (or no) updates. Not a good thing for people who want to be engaged with a brand online. But for organizations, that’s the joy and the pain of social networking–anyone can do it, and unless you’re Coke, Pepsi, or some other huge brand, its hard to keep other people’s hands off your name, even when they are trying to help.
The NAACP is moving in the right direction with its plans for a new media manager, because the best way to manage that brand online is to be present, but also active. I recently attended a panel discussion of PR professionals who work with multicultural audiences, and the moderator gave what I thought was really bad advice–he told everyone to make sure their cause, client, or whatever started a Facebook group immediately, because of the number of minorities using the service. I choked on my coffee at the shortsightedness of that comment, and luckily some of the panelists also disagreed. (Apparently he didn’t read the Washington Post article on Facebook groups). Its not about just being online, its about being a regular part of the community you’re joining, and starting a group without the plan and the resources to manage could potentially be more damaging than anything in the long run. Right now, the Thursday Network, MULYP and the NAACP’s youth are getting it right. If their fellow chapters and national offices follow suit, both organizations can become major presences among social media causes.Category: News, web 2.0 | Tags: facebook, Facebook Groups, NAACP, National Urban League, National Urban League Young Professionals, NUL, Thursday Network, twitter