Bringing the campaigning power of Twitter and counter-narratives to Spain

By Karen White
Friday, 29 January 2016

If Twitter is the public town square of the online world, filled with ideas and discussion, then it’s also populated by people and organisations whose voices animate the discourse in civil society. These NGOs advance the interests of citizens and we partner with them at every opportunity in the hope that they can amplify their voices and push their message.

We were in Madrid this week, convening NGOs from across the country to learn, discuss and finds ways to empower the campaigns of tomorrow on Twitter. 

Attendees included representatives from organisations which advocate in the interests of children, refugees and victims of terrorism, among others. While many of them were already effective in their social media efforts, creatively fuelling campaigns that reach millions of Spaniards and the world, some were still finding their voice. Whatever the level of familiarity with Twitter, they were all convinced of the platform’s potential to amplify their vital work and to create meaningful connections between organisations and individuals.

During the session, we offered guidance on how to find the right voice on Twitter, we highlighted some great case studies and openly discussed the policies and tools that our team has designed to empower users to take ownership of their individual experience of the platform.

Some of the case studies, such as #NotInMyName, explored the development of counter-narratives on Twitter and how they can be effective in marginalising and discrediting voices that seek to exploit vulnerable people.

Counter-narratives such as this tell a positive story. They point to a brighter path for those who feel isolated and disillusioned with their lives. They create a sense of community. Moreover, counter-narratives can have big impact, as attested to by the United Nations this month in their Action Plan to Combat Extremism. The plan highlights how thousands of young activists and artists are creating powerful counter-narratives online through music, art, film, comics and humour.

At the end of the training session, attendees were given a copy of Twitter’s NGO Handbook, “Campaigning on Twitter”, as well as a safety factsheet. 

We look forward to holding more workshops and standing side-by-side with our civil society partners across Spain in 2016.