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AAUW-NYS Summer Leadership Conference AAUW State Voices Workshop July 17, 2011.

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Presentation on theme: "AAUW-NYS Summer Leadership Conference AAUW State Voices Workshop July 17, 2011."— Presentation transcript:

1 AAUW-NYS Summer Leadership Conference AAUW State Voices Workshop July 17, 2011

2 Presented by Donna Seymour AAUW-NYS Communications Director

3 Overview: The AAUW Voices Project is an initiative aimed at training, organizing and empowering a group of national AAUW members with strong writing skills to be our media first-responders utilizing:  AAUW-written Opinion Editorials (Op-Eds)  Letters to the Editor  Social Media tools (Facebook, Twitter)

4 Why the Voices Project? Because women’s voices – and opinions and points of view – are largely invisible in the opinion shaping area of the media, which is heavily dominated by men. The Voices Project is designed to give some balance to those voices and make sure our words are read, our issues are covered, and we are a part of the debate and discussion.

5 First National Voices Project: A national effort for the widespread publication of opinion editorial pieces (Op Eds) on the topic of pay equity, with a target publication date of Equal Pay Day (April 12, 2011).topic of pay equity More than 20 Op Eds were published in the nation, including two here in NYS: Kathleen Murphy in the Buffalo News Donna Seymour in the Albany Times Union

6 Second Voices Project Training: RAISING YOUR VOICE ONLINE! We were trained to use the Internet to scan and absorb news on AAUW’s issues, and to respond to news and opinion pieces using Twitter, a social media tool. The goal was to provide us the tips and tools to flex our writing muscles for gender equity on the web, something that can be done in just minutes a day, less than an hour a week.

7 The NYS Voices Project This workshop will introduce you to two media outreach tools you can use to gain valuable visibility for the AAUW mission and programs in your branch and community: Letters to the Editor Twitter

8 Letters to the Editor: Letters to the editor are great advocacy tools. After you write letters to your members of Congress, sending a letter to the editor can achieve other advocacy goals because they: reach a large audience are often monitored by elected officials can bring up information not addressed in a news article create an impression of widespread support for, or opposition to, an issue

9 Keep letters short and to one subject. Many newspapers have strict limits on the length of letters and have limited space to publish them. (Research your newspaper!) Keeping your letter brief will help assure that your important points are not cut out by the newspaper editorial staff. Use the Tips on Writing to our Elected Officials as a guide. (See state website.)Tips on Writing to our Elected Officials Use only 2-3 sentences per paragraph.

10 Use a typewriter, word processor, or e-mail. Most papers want something that is ready to drop into a layout text box; make it simple to use and they will use it! Spell check & proof it carefully to make sure you haven’t correctly spelled the incorrect word! Send letters to weekly community newspapers too. The smaller the newspaper's circulation, the easier it is to get your letter printed.

11 Be sure to include your contact information. Many newspapers will only print a letter to the editor after calling the author to verify his or her identity and address. Newspapers will not give out that information, and will usually only print your name and city, should your letter be published.

12 Be a Media First Responder: When you read an article or an opinion piece in your local paper that you think needs to be answered (did you mutter something while reading it?), then be a Media First Responder - write that response letter! Don’t let bad public policy suggestions go without a response. Help educate the public about all sides of an issue; do your part to build the critical mass for positive change.

13 Make references to the newspaper. While some papers print general commentary, many will only print letters that refer to a specific article. Here are some examples of easy ways to refer to articles in your opening sentence: "I was disappointed to see that The Post's May 18 editorial 'School Vouchers Are Right On' omitted some of the key facts in the debate." "I strongly disagree with (author's name) narrow view on women's reproductive rights." (Name or Op-Ed, date) "I am deeply saddened to read that Congressman Nitwit is working to roll back affirmative action." ("Title of Article," date)

14 Use AAUW resources to help you in crafting your LET points: Washington Update (weekly e-bulletin) AAUW Position Papers – detailed information on our federal policy agenda Two-Minute Activist – the information you need to lobby Congress on our issues AAUW Action Network (issue e-mails) LAF Update – news on current cases AAUW Outlook – membership magazine

15 Know your newspaper’s word count limit and stay under it. Less is often more, in a Letter to the Editor. Prune your words to the essentials to make your points effectively Where, how and who to send your letter to: See the 2-page list on the AAUW-NYS website http://www.aauw- papers.pdf http://www.aauw- papers.pdf

16 Some 2011 Calendar Dates that Might Inspire a Letter to the Editor: July 19-20: 163rd Anniversary of the First Women's Rights Conference (July 19 - 20, 1848) held in Seneca Falls, NY in 1848. August 26: Women’s Equality Day September 13: NYS Primary Day Sept. 30 – Oct. 1: Women's Hall of Fame Induction, Seneca Falls November 4: Election Day

17 2012 Dates: 2012: Feb 2: National Girls & Women in Sports Day 2012: March is Women’s History Month 2012: March 8: International Women’s Day 2012: April 20 – Equal Pay Day 2012: June 1-3: AAUW’s National Conference for College Women Student Leaders 2012: June 23: Title IX’s 40th Birthday

18 Important Note! If you are writing as an AAUW member and expressing an opinion on an AAUW issue, you must reflect the AAUW position on that issue. If you can not do so, then do not identify yourself as an AAUW member! If in doubt, check the AAUW Position Papers webpage at: ctionpages/index.cfm ctionpages/index.cfm

19 Twitter Twitter is a free social messaging utility for staying connected in real-time, using short messages from a computer, cell phone or Blackberry.

20 Twitter 101: Twitter is an information network made up of 140-character messages called Tweets. It's an easy way to discover the latest news (“what’s happening”) related to subjects you care about. It is a powerful tool that can:

21 Send a real-time message…

22 …educate others…

23 …pay for college... Tweet Your Way to College This Fall: One question. One hundred and forty characters. $37,000. It's no game show -- the University of Iowa's Tippie MBA full-time program is awarding one full financial award package to an applicant who most creatively answers the question, "What makes you an exceptional Tippie MBA candidate and full-time MBA hire? Creativity encouraged!", in 140 characters or less on Twitter. The application Tweet can take the place of the application essay for candidates. The Tweet link could link to other social media outlets such as Facebook, blogs or websites with full resumes as a way to showcase the student’s credentials online.

24 …organize a revolution…

25 …bring down an empire! How Angry Moms Toppled the 'World' Influential British parenting website Mumsnet was instrumental in bringing down scandal-ridden News of the World through Facebook and Twitter postings targeting advertisers. It worked!

26 Just how powerful is Twitter? Social studies of Facebook and Twitter have been adapted to gain a greater understanding of the swarming behavior of locusts. The enormous success of social networking sites has vividly illustrated the importance of networking for humans; however for some animals, keeping informed about others of their kind is even more important.

27 Twitter in the Animal Kingdom

28 The magic of Twitter lies in absorbing real- time information that matters to you. Reading messages from users you choose to follow is like being delivered a newspaper whose headlines you’ll always find interesting – you can discover news as it’s happening, learn more about topics that are important to you, and get the inside scoop in real time. You can take action on an issue and encourage others to do so as well.

29 How to create an account: Navigate to, enter your full name and click the yellow button on the right hand of your screen, or simply navigate to Fill in the first field with your full name. Create a username. Usernames must be fewer than 15 characters in length, and cannot contain 'admin' or 'twitter' in order to avoid brand confusion.

30 Enter a password. ( Make sure your password contains letters, numbers, and symbols.) Enter your email address. Fill in the Captcha to prove you're human, not a machine! Pick sources that interest you. Search for Friends, and follow them.

31 Create your profile: You can choose a graphic or photo, put in a location, add a website link, and write a (short) profile of your interests.

32 Using Twitter for AAUW Log on or sign up for a Twitter account and start following Executive Director Linda Hallman, Director of Public Policy and Government Relations Lisa Maatz, and AAUW members from around the nation to hear the latest AAUW and public policy news through the latest form of online communication technology. You can also follow your elected officials, and join AAUW's Facebook group. Log on or sign up for a Twitter account Linda HallmanLisa MaatzAAUWelected officialsFacebook

33 Follow AAUW on Twitter:


35 Follow topics & groups:

36 Colleges & Universities:

37 Encourage others to take action: Here’s a June 22 Action Network email from AAUW:

38 After you send a message to Congress, click on the Tweet Button and send a real-time message to your followers to take action: By clicking on the URL in the Tweet, others can be directed back to the AAUW Action page to send their own message.

39 Share News Stories via Twitter: Get in the habit of following your favorite newspapers & news sites online. If you see a story you think others might enjoy reading - or want to share a breaking news item - post a message on Twitter. Many news sites let you connect via social media services from their pages with the click of a button. Post to Facebook, Twitter or dozens of other media services quickly.

40 You will see a Share Option – it may look different on every site, but just search for it:

41 Add your comment, keep the whole to 140 characters in length, and post to your Twitter account: When you click on the URL at the end of the Tweet, up pops the webpage you have directed your followers to.

42 branch-aauw-032320 New members join St. Lawrence Branch of AAUW

43 Using Tiny URL: Sometimes you will want to share a story from a website that doesn’t have a Twitter button. In that case, copy and paste the URL of the story into a box at


45 Create your own Tweet: Type your comment, Add a separator and the title of the article your are tweeting, Add a dash (–) and then the tiny URL link, making sure you don’t go over 140 characters in length in total. Go to and post in this box after you have logged in:

46 At Don’t worry; if you go over the 140 characters, Twitter will let you know and you’ll have the chance to prune your tweet down to an acceptable length!

47 What is a hashtag? A hashtag is an indexing feature you can incorporate into your Tweet. The # symbol is used to mark keywords or topics in a Tweet. It was created organically by Twitter users as a way to categorize messages. For example: #AAUW.

48 Retweeting Like a Tweet? Retweet! Sometimes you come across a Tweet that you just have to share. Twitter's retweet (otherwise known as "RT") feature helps you and others quickly share that Tweet with all of your followers. How to Retweet: Hover over a Tweet Click the retweet link The Tweet will then be forwarded to all of your followers

49 Retweeting allows you to share news and the original link as a way to build followers for both of you. There’s always more to learn, but now you have the basics. Go forth and Tweet!

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