This stuff is seriously cool.
Basically, the idea is that, since so many elected officials and corporations and government agencies are using Twitter to get their messages across, there is a whole new avenue for influencing them, too, via their Twitter accounts.
So, advocates are starting these Twitter petition campaigns to send tweets to folks like President Obama, Senators Harry Reid and Chuck Grassley, CitiBank, and the Prime Minister of England, directly to their official Twitter accounts, to communicate a specific (obviously brief) message: end Don’t Ask/Don’t Tell, advance the National Labor Relations Board nominees, stop blocking health care reform, support efforts to stop climate change, etc…
To use the service, you can either create your own petition or “sign” someone else’s petition by sending one of the tweets directly to a target.
I like that it’s free, it should (at least initially) grab some attention from the target because it’s a new media (and, in many cases, there’s someone relatively high-up within the organization monitoring the stream, unlike the person who usually answers the phone), it’s integrated into a technology that delivers it (rather than, say, using Twitter to ask people to make a phone call or send an email), there’s feedback regarding if/how the target has responded (and when), and it has the potential to not just mobilize this specific ‘ask’ from your known supporters but also bring in new supporters and attract their interest in your overall work (because they can see who started the petition, and make the decision to follow you–it’s a button right next to the “sign and tweet” button).
I took action on a couple of petitions; it only took a few minutes, and, of course, those tweets go out to all of my followers, too, which builds my connection to those issues and potentially brings new folks on board, too.
Who will you put in “the hot seat”?