Wednesday, September 21, 2016

How to be an Effective Heritage Action Sentinel on Social Media

Statue of the "Minute Man" via Wikimedia CC 2.0
The Heritage Action Sentinel program is a stroke of genius in the realm of political change.  Few organizations truly realize the potential in assembling cohesive grassroots movements.  Many organizations simply fund raise and throw money at problems, but the real lasting change is found in individual activism and the spreading of information through new media.

Even if you aren't affiliated with Heritage Action's Sentinel program, keep reading, and learn how to engage in effective political activity on social media.  It's fun, it's effective, and it's a great service to your country.  

Sentinel.
1. a person or thing that watches or stands as if watching.
2. a soldier stationed as a guard to challenge all comers and prevent a surprise attack

Many fail to understand the potential in online political activity.  The knee jerk reaction of the older generation is to laugh off the internet as a region of trolls, jokes, and foolishness.  That might've effectively described the state of the internet 10-12 years ago.  Today it is a much different place.  The internet is slowly but surely pushing aside television.  The internet and talk radio have grown as regions where the flowering of conservative thought have developed into growing principled movements.  

The internet is a powerful forum for the discussion of ideas.  In particular, social media has grown into a place where ideas can be shared.  In that fold of ideas is politics and political causes.  

So your a burgeoning young (or older) political activist.  How can you engage your neighbors via the internet and social media?  

First of all you should create a Facebook account, a Twitter account, and a Google+ account.  There are many other options for social media accounts, but these are the largest.  Once you've created these accounts, you need to build them up.  

On Facebook.com that means adding friends, creating your profile, and posting good content.  The maximum friend count is currently 5,000.  Add people you know, and "like" pages like The Heritage Foundation, Heritage Action, the American Family Association, the Family Research Center, the Media Research Center, The Federalist, Conservative Review, Alliance Defending Freedom, Marriage Conservation, The Resurgent, and many other pages.  When you see good political posts from these pages, reshare them on your timeline.  

On Twitter.com you'll want to create your account, build your profile so it looks nice, and then begin to "follow" others.  I usually go through and follow right up to the maximum of 5,000. In turn about 1,000-2,000 of these accounts will follow you back.  Then when you "tweet" they'll see those tweets on their accounts.  It's good to follow people in your area first, then follow political accounts around the web as well.  You can "retweet" content from any of the afor mentioned political organizations, or create your own tweets.  The trick for Twitter is that every tweet must be under 140 characters long.  You can tweet links, images, or even videos.  One of the tricks of twitter is to use #hashtags.  Some popular sentinel and conservative hashtags include: #conservatives #evangelicals #teaparty #heritageaction #heritage #ccot #tcot #faith #GOP #republican #libertarian #nohearingsnovotes #dontdraftourdaughters.  There are many others as well.  Pay attention to hashtags used by Heritage Action and other sentinels.  One of the best ways to make sure your impacting your political leaders is tweeting @ someone.  Say if I want to tell my congressmen that I want him to support the First Amendment Defense Act #FADA I would tweet "@RepSeanDuffy Please support the 1st amend def act #FADA."  When I tweet the message in such a way, it will show up on Sean Duffy's twitter timeline.  

On Google+ you can create a profile either through your gmail account or by creating a Google+ profile account.  I don't interact too much on Google+ but you can follow up to 5,000 people and they can add you back.  I tend to just repost content from Youtube, Facebook, and other pages onto Google+.  I have a decent following on there, but I don't interact too much.  But feel free to explore Google+ and generate activity on there.  We need trail blazers in the conservative movement to engage in new areas.

Additional social media sites include: Pinterest, Tumblr, LinkedIn, Instagram, Reddit.com, VK, Flickr, Vine, Meetup, Ask.fm, Classmates, Sound Cloud, and many others.  

Explore, establish new outposts of conservatism, and build into new regions. One of the best things you can do is be creative and imaginative.  Use your own ideas and try out new things.  Engage on new platforms and engage in new ways.  We need innovation, and it's up to you to find new ways to reach people not just in the United States but across the world.  

Another effective way of reaching people on the internet is through blogging.  I started the blog your reading now in early 2013.  I had written for several newspapers and magazines.  I'd been published a few times on Yahoo! News and other websites.  But I was largely an unknown.  I used blogger.com to start my blog and three years later I'd reached nearly a quarter million people in fifty+ countries.  If your a good writer or you just love writing definitely consider starting a blog with a free platform like blogger.com or wordpress.com.  It's a lot of fun, and you can potentially reach millions.  

Side Note: Blogging doesn't have to be just writing articles.  Many of the most viewed blogs are video blogs hosted on Youtube.com. If you have a good computer that can edit video, consider starting a video blog.  Video is definitely the latest trend in the internet, whether on social media or on Youtube, more people are viewing videos on the web than ever before.  Another option for blogging is creating a podcast.  You can host your content on sites like Sound Cloud or Itunes.  Do you have a gift for the spoken word?  Start a podcast!

If your feeling ambitious you can create several blogs.  I have seven blogs that I routinely aggregate content to and write for.  It's fun and effective.  You can do the same with Facebook accounts.  I personally have three Facebook accounts that I share content on, plus five Facebook pages.  In addition, I have built a Twitter presence of thirty-six accounts that I share content to everyday via a free program called Tweetdeck.com.  Of course it took me the last four years to build up that kind of presence on the internet and social media.  But it all starts with a few clicks, and eventually years later your building on your progress and making decent waves on the web.  Start small and think big over the long term.

One thing I try to tell sentinels is that we need to work as a team.  And I don't mean that in terms of just helping out other sentinels.  I mean we have to think of ourselves as ambassadors of Constitutional conservative principles and Judaeo-Christian thought.  And we can't be selfish about it.  I don't just share content from Heritage Action and the Heritage Foundation.  I consider myself an activist for dozens of organizations, charities, and outlets.  I routinely post content, petitions, media, articles, and other content from Liberty Counsel, Alliance Defending Freedom, The Center for Medical Progress, MRC.org, the ACLJ, School Choice, Article V Convention of States, The Federalist, The Daily Wire, the Ben Shapiro Show, The Blaze radio, the Mark Levin Show, AFA.net, The Family Research Institute, Focus on the Family, The Resurgent, Conservative Review, Reasonable Faith, Cross Examined, RZIM, The Rebel Media, Louder with Crowder, Life News, Christian Post, The Stream, Paul Joseph Watson, Reason Magazine, Prager University, The Libertarian Republic, the Hoover Institute, Campus Reform, The Reagan Library, National Review, Breitbart.com, and of course the Heritage Foundation and Heritage Action. These organizations are all important parts of the foundation of our national identity in our ideological battle against the secular progressives.  One thing that all of these organizations lack is dedicated political activists willing to support them, protect them, and spread their powerful content across the interwebs.  We can be the force that supports and unifies these organizations into a grassroots movement that reclaim our nation from the corruption of the socialist leftists.  

Being a Heritage Action Sentinel is much like being a minuteman.  We work day and night in our communities to light the brush fires of liberty in the hearts of men and women.  We spread the truth via social media and blogs to those who have heard nothing but the lies set forth by the entrenched television media.  We are alert at any moment to step up and meet dangers to our nation from ideological fruit baskets like the progressive left who seek to change and redefine everything in our society to fit their twisted, corrupt agenda of redistribution of wealth, enforced equality, and supplanting of the core foundations of our Constitution.  

Take on the challenge of standing up for your nation.  Begin to educate yourself on the key issues of our day.  Build a social media presence.  It is very effective in the spreading of ideas.  Any activist ought to know that politics is the last effect of ideas that are spread in the culture.  If we can spread constitutionalism, conservatism, limited government, free markets, personal responsibility, Christian faith, and unalienable rights in the realm of ideas our work in the political realm will be fait accompli.  So get to work sentinel, build your social media presence, stay active on the Sentinel Hub, sign petitions, write emails to your Congressional leaders, start campaigns, and spread the core ideals that made our country great.  God be with you.

Minute Man Statue, via Wikimedia Images CC 2.0
P.S. Feel free to add my accounts on social media and share the content I aggregate.  Here are links to my accounts: