Aaron from The Young Turks is one of a handful of people who repeatedly create wildly popular petitions on act.ly. Several times we've watched his petitions become the most popular of the day and thought he might have some useful tips and tricks for others trying to do the same. He kindly agreed to share some of his techniques.
On choosing an idea for a petition:
When an issue needs more publicity, has momentum and I feel like it would have untapped support on Twitter, I'll do a petition. 9 times out of 10 I won't do a petition unless I think it'll blow up. Most of the time I'll listen to the show, and if there's a particular issue that Cenk gets really worked up about, I'll weigh all the variables and decide whether or not to do a petition.
How to get others to retweet petitions:
Sometimes I'll @ the petition to people who I think will agree and retweet it. I'll also post a link to the petition on our Facebook fan page and in the description box of a YouTube clip. It's usually a combination of all those things.
Factors that influence a successful petition:
It has to be a current news story or issue being talked about a lot at the moment, and I've found that targeted petitions do better than broad issue petitions.
The impact of petitions on The Young Turks or the issues being highlighted:
They encourage Twitter followers to be more active members. I think it's super important and valuable to The Young Turks for our Twitter followers to be retweeting, dming us and @ing us questions. Hopefully we can inspire them to start creating their own forms of activism online. Regarding the issues, it puts another spotlight on issues that we feel are important.
The most useful feature of act.ly?
The "Petitions Catching Fire" page, I check the petitions catching fire today, past week, past month, all time, almost every day.
Those are Aaron's tips, do you have any tips to share?