Using social media to find the best stuff, and the best people

This past weekend I attended a big science fiction convention. It was my fourth time attending this particular event, and I was prepared for it to be overwhelming, as always. At any given time there are dozens of things to do: listen to a variety of panel discussions, watch sci-fi movies, listen to live music, do some arts and crafts, or play board games, card games, or video games.

It's easy to get caught up in the whirlwind of possibilities to the point where you're stymied as to what to do. The same holds true for social media - there's so much happening, RIGHT NOW, that sometimes it seems the easiest thing to do is either let it wash over you or to ignore it altogether.

Ironically, at a convention, social media itself is what can help create order out of chaos, and help you separate the proverbial wheat from the chaff. And likewise, with the right keyword searches, you can tame the overwhelming surge of information on Twitter and find new supporters for your cause.

In the case of my convention, I would check Twitter any time I was unsure of what to do next, and find out what people were saying by searching for the designated convention hashtag. Usually the best panels and events would get raves while they were going on. Additionally, following the hashtag was the best way to find out where you could find free food!

In a similar fashion, you can use keyword searches to find potential donors and activists for your cause. There are already people out there talking about your issue, so go find them and engage them by searching for relevant keywords (psst: Small Act's software, Thrive, makes it easy to monitor a variety of keyword searches over time). Folks talking about your issue may not know your organization exists, or may not have connected with you on Twitter yet, but they're already passionate about what you do, so it would behoove you to join in the conversation! You may find a new loyal donor or volunteer in the process.

Have you had a good experience finding people passionate about your cause with keyword searches? Post it in the comments!