From tweet to street : Raising an army 101

So the idea here is simple : " How do you go from tweet to street ? " which primarily means " How do you go from inspiration to action ? ". I owe my inpiration to the amazing think tank TED Active put up for the Social Networks project. The group reached the conclusion that targeted tweets (Direct Messages actually), Facebook messages and mails to the right persons were far more effective than general tweeting and unfocused Facebook statuses. This meant in a way that the the same principles that governed large-scale marketing were to be applied in the realm of individual use of social media be it for self-promotion or cause militancy. In other words and and more figuratively, the best way to raise a virtual army , to take things from plain tweeting to actual action (hitting the street for example) rests on three premises :

  1. Be the general YOU would like to follow: Be yourself, be trustful and be generous with your knowledge. Vouch for the people you trust and do to your troops what you would do for a friend
  2. Choose your generals wisely: When on a mission (promoting an idea, spreading a message, inviting people to be part of a march ...) and you want things done, be sure you are assigning the right generals for the mission. Don't simply send a messgae to the whole army. That is counter-productive, counter-efficient. Targeting the right people with the right networks and the right knowledge is key for social turnarounds.
  3. Shout softly: The way you convey a message is more important than the message itself. You want it to be simply expressed, visually rich. Your generals will get it quicker and action will hence follow more rapidly. As you know, people aren't sheep so in order not to treat them cheaply, you might want to tailor-fit your message

These might remind you of the three criteria Malcolm Gladwell considers necessary to make something tip (The law of the few, the stickiness factor and the context). Now whether Galdwell would make for a good military general, I'll let you ponder on that (excuse the pretty bad photoshopping) :


So if you want to spread that message, make your cause known, make a product trend, know this : As much in the world of targeted advertising and marketing as in the world of generals and soldiers, focus is key. In other words:

  1. Less is more
  2. Small is Big

So how do you turn inspiration into action ? Simple : You can't. But your network can. Only it's never about sharing with the biggest number of people. It's about sharing with the right people. Laying these solid foundations are what's going to get you to critical mass.