Hello, #WaveCast Reporters.
Thank you so much for your interest and willingness to experiment as a team. We’re building the plane as we’re flying it with this project, so we’re very open to ideas and innovations you may have in mind.
Goals of #WaveCast:
- Provide a real-time, engaging play-by-play of the Blue Wave as it’s happening, from the perspective of the activists who have been working to build it.
- Drive people to the polls. Inform voters about candidates and voting.
- Engender a sense of community.
- Celebrate our successes as a movement – paint a picture of the work that has gone into building the wave.
- Test out a decentralized (but organized) “reporting” framework, using mixed media to draw interest and engagement.
How we will do it:
Here’s the thing. We’ve all been sharing information on social media for years. #WaveCast isn’t a huge divergence from what we’ve all already been doing. It is just an attempt to organize the chaos a bit, and give the public a clear road map to follow to get the information they want. Some basics on the “how”:
- We Tweet, Therefore We Are. This is a Twitter-based effort. We can use other sites to carry content (blogs, YouTube channels, podcast apps, etc.), but it will all be linked to from Twitter.
- One Election, Scrambled, with a Side of Hashtags. We will use a hashtag framework to steer the crazy flow of “WaveCast”:
⇒ When we tweet something out , we will always include #WaveCast. If it is a thread, #WaveCast should be in the lead tweet.
⇒ If the content is related to a specific state, we should include BOTH #WaveCast and #WaveCastXX, with “XX” being the abbreviation for the state (example: #WaveCastCA = California, #WaveCastMO = Missouri, etc.).
- RT the HT! We will ask Blue Wave activists who aren’t formally a part of #WaveCast to use our state-specific hashtags to share information from the field as well (we will make some Twitter graphics to help explain this). For example, there may be a great GOTV event or Last Weekend rally that somebody goes to and gets some video. We want to make sure if they tweet that out that we catch it and share it. So, state teams should monitor their own state’s hashtags and share relevant content by RTing.
- Engage the HT! Don’t stop at just RTing. State Field Reporter teams should engage with tweeters who share photos, videos & stories about the Wave. Consider Quote-RTing their tweets and asking them questions about their candidate(s) and/or experience(s). If you Quote-RT be sure to include #WaveCast and #WaveCastXX for your state.
- Engage Each Other! Be a team. Follow your fellow reporters from within your state and boost/comment on their content.
- Yes to Lists. I know people hate lists. Nevertheless we will create at least two public lists: one for #WaveCast Anchors, and one for #WaveCast State Reporters. We may create one for each state that has a robust team. That way – people can go to a, for example, #WaveCastCA list to follow along. We’re still figuring out what the right mix of lists is. Regional is also an option. Feedback welcome on this.
- Mix Up that Media! Plain tweets are great. A tweet with a photo is even better. A tweet with audio/video is even better than that. We highly encourage all Field Reporters to use audio, graphics, photos and videos to enhance their tweets and bring the story to life.
- Quality Over Quantity. There is no minimum or maximum # of tweets for Field Reporters. There is definitely no need to produce content for content’s sake. If you are out canvassing and can send out three high-quality tweets per day that help to capture the feel of the Blue Wave in your local area, that is fantastic.
- Stay in Your Lane. One key thing that you are agreeing to as a part of #WaveCast: you will keep ~70% of your tweets within the domain of your focus. For example, if you’re a Field Reporter in TX-07, reporting for the #WaveCastTX team about Lizzie Fletcher’s campaign, but 50% of your tweets are about how orange Trump is, that’s not what we are looking for. We want you to keep 70% of your tweets internal to TEXAS. One key reason: all of your tweets will end up in the #WaveCast lists that the public will be subscribing to. If you are tweeting about everything under the sun, it dilutes the project.
OK – that’s some guidelines about the “How”. On to “What”.
What we will do:
The idea here is to paint a picture for the public about this election, from the perspective of Blue Wave activists and voters. It’s as much about the process of the election as the results. Yes – we want to report the facts on the ground as we see them: turnout numbers, voting discrepancies or suppression, candidate statements. The wins. The losses. But we also want to share the get-out-the-vote information. We want to spotlight canvassers and phone bankers – ask them what is motivating them to act, and describe what they’ve done this campaign season to help elect Democrats. Here are some activities and approaches you could pursue (not an exhaustive list):
- Research and share information about final GOTV opportunities across the state.
- Go to those GOTV events and snap pictures. Conduct very short video interviews with campaign workers and volunteers. Ask them why they are so engaged, why they love their candidates, etc. Post the videos with our hashtags and tag the candidate’s @ handle.
- Stay very alert to updates coming out of campaigns. Share those updates.
- Closely track the Twitter accounts of critical candidates and RT them or QT with our hashtags.
- Share information about the critical political issues in your local area or state. Is it broadband? Veteran services? Environment? It’s different everywhere.
- Attempt to secure interviews with candidates.
- Tweet out brief, threaded biographies about your candidates. Introduce them to the Twitterverse for those who don’t know them.
- Attend election day/night events for your candidates and share lots of video/photos.
- Recap critical differences between your candidates and their opponents.
- Follow local & national media closely for discussion of races and/or voting. Share and/or respond to them.
- Track the #WaveCastXX hashtag for your state. Make sure you retweet any activists out there using the hashtag who bring an interesting perspective and/or photos/videos (you do NOT have to RT everything – use your judgement). Anything you RT will end up appearing in the #WaveCast List’s feed.
- Track other relevant elections hashtags for your state to catch & relay the latest updates.
- Intermittently post a video diary of what you are seeing and how you are feeling. (Don’t go overboard – keep it professional.)
Some Tweeting/Content Guidelines
- Don’t spam tweet. Again – quality over quantity.
- Report facts, but then provide some insight or analysis about those facts.
- Try to stay pretty professional. Avoid using a ton of emojis (some are fine), and don’t put a hashtag in front of ever other word.
- Stay away from vague cheerleading tweets, like: “If we want to save America, we have to #FlipItBlue! RT if you agree!” There will be plenty of folks out there sharing those.
- Use your team. If you want to share something but aren’t sure the best way to do so, ask your fellow WaveCasters.
- Build a plan for yourself. There are four days. Plan some content in advance, but leave time to react to what’s happening as well.
- Saturday and Sunday should *generally* focus on GOTV.
- Monday and Tuesday should *generally* focus on candidates, horserace analysis, voting & vote security, and reactions by supporters to the results.
A Little Clarity on Roles:
National Anchors have a national scope, and will pull together threads of information from across the states and across topics. Anchors will be expected to be pretty consistently tweeting throughout the four-day period. These are effectively the “hosts” of the #WaveCast. Anchors / Analysts may have certain areas of expertise or focus. For example, one Analyst may have a focus on election integrity, while another focuses on the national effort to flip statehouses.
State Captains will be the go-to accounts for state-level analysis. Ideally these folks have some deep ties to campaigns across the state and can generate interesting insights. The State Captain will coordinate the Field Reporters and ensure that each critical domain in the state (US Congressional races, gubernatorial, important state roles such as SoS/AG, statehouse races, and ballot measures) has ownership (if relevant this year). Teams may have to pick & choose what to cover because it’s hard to cover everything well. Captains will help guide this.
Reporting at any of these levels may take the following forms:
- Providing a 50,000 ft. narrative about a set of races, about voting integrity/dynamics, or about the activism driving the wave, for example.
- Conducting twitter-based text interviews and/or video or audio interviews with relevant figures/activists/candidates.
- Sharing Periscope video updates about key topics.
- Providing smart, insightful commentary on the wave’s progress via original tweets & threads.
- Engaging in Twitter-based conversations/back-and-forth’s with other Anchors, Analysts and State Captains