Spread the Word - National Multiple Sclerosis Society

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Overview

The way the world communicates has changed and MS activists are part of the new conversation. Use online and interactive (social) media to build awareness and drive change—become a digital activist today.

Digital Activism Is Effective

  • Real people use it: Some 60% of American adults use social networking sites like Facebook or Twitter. Sixty-six percent of those social media users – or 39% of all American adults – have done at least one of eight civic or political activities with social media. Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project, October 2012
  • In 2013, nearly 12,000 MS activists sent more than 21,000 emails to members of Congress on important issues like MS research funding and the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
  • According to Twitter, all 100 U.S. Senators are now tweeting, along with 90% (398 members) of the House of Representatives.
  • “Twitter generates an outsized share of attention among political professionals and helps to form the narratives that pundits, journalists, and candidates will develop during and after big events.” National Journal, Sept. 11, 2012
  • Members of Congress use social media to be more responsive to and have more meaningful interactions with their constituents, and to reach new people. 64% of staff surveyed think Facebook is an important tool for understanding constituents’ views and opinions. Congressional Management Foundation, “Perceptions and Use of Social Media on Capitol Hill”

Get Informed

  • Join the MS Activist Network to receive updates on federal, state and local policy impacting people affected by MS. We’ll also send you MS Action Alerts when an issue or piece of legislation calls for your immediate attention and action; with a few clicks you can email your public officials about why a current issue is important to you.
  • Seek out and connect with the Society in social media: Facebook and Twitter  (including state and local advocacy. Use Facebook’s search function to find local Facebook pages. Get going in social media with these short, basic video tutorials on how to use Twitter and Facebook.
  • Know your State and Federal (U.S. Senate, U.S. House of Representatives) public officials (make a list!).

Raise Your Hand

Identify yourself as an MS activist. Connect with other MS activists and public officials.

  • To seek out and follow your public officials on Twitter, consult C-SPAN’s list of Members of Congress on Twitter.
  • To find and connect with your public officials on Facebook, use Facebook’s search function or visit each official’s website and look for Like buttons or links to Facebook. If you’re concerned that a Federal official’s page or profile on social media seems “unofficial,” you can verify it online.
  • Seek out other MS activists and the conversations that you care about, including following activism-related posts on the Society’s blog, #MSactivist at search.twitter.com (other hashtags of interest: #MS , #MSresearch), and trending issues—you’ll know them when you see them or when @MSactivist tweets them, for example #UNCRPD, #NIH, #MSCDMRP or #CDMRP.
  • Speak out!
    • Facebook—update your status with something like this:

I am an #MSactivist. Multiple sclerosis affects my life (add a brief personal note sharing how). To support me on issues that affect families facing #MS please Share this and Like @National Multiple Sclerosis Society

A Facebook tag—the “@” symbol preceding a user or page name—only creates a tag if you Like that user’s profile/page. The successful tag should automatically change the name to a hyperlink—and the @ symbol will disappear. Feel free to include @National Multiple Sclerosis Society or indicate that you are “with” your local page.

  • Twitter—send a tweet like this:

I am an #MSactivist – join me & support people w #MS. Please RT & follow @MSactivist

Take Action

  • Educate your public officials about MS and the needs of people affected by MS.
    • Facebook—visit your officials’ pages to:
      • Comment on their posts – your comments and Likes let officials know that you are paying attention. Use appropriate hashtag(s) (#MS) in your comments to ensure that others pay attention too!
      • Post your own message like:

As a constituent and an #MSactivist, I urge you to support the interests of people living with multiple sclerosis. #MS is an unpredictable, often disabling disease – the exact cause is unknown, and there is no cure. (add a brief personal note if you wish)

  • Don’t be disappointed if your official doesn’t respond. Officials and their staff are still learning social media just like the rest of us!
  • Twitter—mention your official in a tweet like this:
  • A Twitter mention—the “@” symbol preceding a user handle—directs your tweet to the intended recipient as if to engage them or other tweeters in conversation. Again, don’t be offended if your official doesn’t response
  • @official (replace “official” with your official’s Twitter handle) As a constituent and #MSactivist I urge you to support interests of people w #MS.
  • Continue the conversation – Thank and respond to your public officials.
    • Publically THANK your officials when they respond and/or support your issues (cosponsorship, votes, etc)—through Twitter or Facebook.
    • Respond to contacts from your officials and their staff—ask the Society for help or advice if you need it.
    • Retweet @MSactivist and follow recommendations. Always use hashtag #MS and/or #MSactivist. “Mention” your officials as often as appropriate using the @ symbol in front of their user handle. 

Recruit

Ask others to join you as a digital MS activist! 

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