Social Media

Everything you need to know about social media platforms and how to use them as an activist or a local group.

General Terms and Actions

Since the mainstream media refuse to cover the majority of our work, the primary way we can share our message is through social media such as Facebook, X (formerly Twitter) and Instagram.

We use social media for the following things:

  1. To share the news about our actions, the effects of our work, and the work of others.
  2. To connect with each other and with those people and organisations with power.
  3. To organise together in groups and creating public events to share.

Boosting Posts

Therefore, it is key to know how we can effectively boost our posts so they are seen by more people. The algorithms on social media are such that the more popular posts appear higher up on the feeds. Thus, the more we interact with posts the more they are seen by people!

To intereact with a post, you can:

Directing Posts at specific People or Groups

When making or sharing posts, it is best to mention specific people and/or groups. This directs the post to those people as well as their followers. Otherwise a post you make is only seen by your friends or followers.

In general this is done by “@-ing” or “AT-ing” a person. This means putting the “@” in front of their username or handle. Eg. if I want to direct a post at XRUK on twitter I would include @XRebellionUK.

Often when you first type the “@” symbol a drop down of popular accounts or friends will appear and as you type it will narrow down to the person you are aiming for.

You can tag a person in the text you're writing or in a photo (for Instagram and Twitter/X).

💡 HINT: keep a note of accounts you want to commonly “@” somewhere handy!

What is a Hashtag?

A “Hashtag” refers to the “#” symbol when used on social media. We have several hashtag such as #ExtinctionRebellion or #RebelForTruth.

Any phrase can be a hashtag is it starts with the “#” and has no spaces between the words. Often they will appear highlighted or in a different colour when typed correctly.

A hashtag allows you to tag a trend on social media. So instead of linking your post to the account @XRebellionUK you may instead what to include your post in the trend #ExtinctionRebellion.

Hashtags categorise content and help other people to find your posts. A common way to browse social media is to search for hashtags or trends, so by tagging your posts with one of these trends you are adding your voice to it and your post will show up in the search.

Tips about using hashtags

💡 Don't invent hashtags as you might end up being the only person using it so no one will be able to find your content that way. Use the search before to find out what hashtags are being used on similar content.

💡 To make your hashtags easier to read, you can capitalise the first letter of each word. For example, instead of writing #betterwithoutbarclays, write #BetterWithoutBarclays. This also makes your social media posts more accessible, as capitalised hashtags can be read by screenreaders.

💡 Only use one or two hashtags on Twitter as you don't have much space to write, but you can go ahead and use 10-20 hashtags on Instagram (put them at the end of your text so they don't make it difficult to read).

Resources for Social Media

From writing content to dealing with trolls, working on social media requires a great variety of skills and resources,

Resources for Social Media

Create content for social media

There are two things to consider when you start creating content for social media platforms: what you want to say and how you're going to say it.

Which can be translated into: text and image.

A platform like Instagram is based on visual content (photos & videos) whereas a platform like Twitter/X works with short texts in reaction to the current news.

The content you produce will be based on these specifications.

What to keep in mind

⭐ Instagram

⭐ Facebook

⭐ Twitter / X

Where to find ideas

If your local group or community group is quiet at the moment, you might not know what to post in order to keep your social media active.

You can post about previous actions- yours or from other groups (inspire your audience!); future events (including talks and training); share what other groups and allies are doing (always prioritise XR content, but once in a while it won't hurt to share non-XR content as well, it's all about finding a balance).

On Facebook and Twitter, you can share articles and react to them.

Keep up to date with what's happening in XR by following our broadcasts: you can share everything that's going on there on social media.

Get breaking news photos and videos from the Live Action Content Telegram. You will find great quality photos on pics.io. You can also check out this (archive) folder as it contains photos & videos that can be used on social media.

Reach & Interaction

Social media is all about REACH, meaning getting our ideas in front of as many people's eyes as possible. The key to increasing the reach with social media is INTERACTION with the posts:

The more people react to your posts, the more the algorithms will show your content to other people (it's a virtuous circle). It's also very helpful if you answer the comments others left you.

Try to post content regularly on the platforms you're using (regular content doesn't mean every day but following a rhythm, for example, twice a week). You can schedule posts in advance to save time.

Once in a while, check the insights of your account to note which posts seem to work best, so you can replicate the recipe (what type of content? what day did you post? at what time?).

💡 "insights" are statistics about your social media account (for example: number of followers, number of views on one post etc.)

Resources for Social Media

Graphics for social media

If you're keen on creating graphics yourself to use on social media, here are a few resources that can help you out.

Graphics size

The optimum graphics sizes to use on different platforms seem to change all the time... This page is regularly updated by experts with the latest sizes to use for each platform.

Tools

The first thing to do is to check the design programme, download the fonts and familiarise yourself with the XR colours.

You can download XR assets and create basic XR graphics on Aktivisda.

If you're looking for software to edit images on your computer, Affinity Photos is a good alternative to Photoshop (it's not free but way cheaper, and it's very easy to use if you're used to Photoshop). GIMP is a free and open source software.

Resources for Social Media

Links and short URL

Short URL are very handy on social media since space can sometime come as a premium (especially on Twitter/X).

How to create a short URL

You can use our in-house solution: https://xrb.link/ (you will need a Hub / Mattermost account to log in).

You can also use other online tools such as bit.ly or tiny.url.

Copy your long URL then paste it in the tool of your choice and convert it.

LinkTree

LinkTree is a great tool to add to your social media accounts.

An image tells a thousand words so check out this example.

Many Instagram accounts use it as an alternative to non-clickable links. They will create a post, and instead of writing something like "For more information, check this link" they will write "For more information, check the link in our bio / profile". And the link for the campaign they mentioned in their post will be linked in their LinkTree.

It's also a very convenient URL to put on your leaflets and posters.

Learn how to use LinkTree with this tutorial (6 min).

Resources for Social Media

Tone of voice

These guidelines will help you when writing as XR on social media, whether you're creating content or answering comments.

Remember that you are speaking as XR, not as yourself, so bypass your own ego and try to come from a place of humility and compassion. It can be very difficult sometimes as trolls can be a very frustrating species. Don't hesitate to seek some help before answering comments (if they are worth answering at all).

Our motivation is:

At all times try to engage and open dialogue, but try to recognise where discussion will probably be fruitless.

Your XR Voice should be simple, kind and self deprecatory; direct yet friendly; informative and engaging, authoritative yet warm and delivered with humility.

Guidelines

Form and Formality

When writing anything as XR, avoid all formal writing errors:

Know the difference between:

Use apostrophes accurately or don’t use them at all.

Form and formality may not matter for some people, but for the rest, it is enough for them to abandon reading our posts. And for many it’s simply good manners.

Resources for Social Media

Moderation & Community Management

General Guidelines

Moderating entails keeping the comments on posts positive and constructive by answering the argumentative ones, hiding or deleting comments that are too bad or negative, and engaging with trolls or people being rude, to get them to follow the rules, or finally to ban them.

On our social media pages and accounts, we suggest that you moderate with a light touch generally, but harder if required - you could have a zero-tolerance approach to swearing to create an inclusive safe space for all and hide all comments that include swearing.

💡 Answering comments is great for building your community as social media platforms tend to show your posts to more people if they generate engagement (likes, comments, shares).

Debate and criticism of the movement is welcome both from the general public and from within, so don’t delete critical content. As social media accounts moderators, We attempt to maintain a regenerative space and do not believe in censorship as we learn and grow from debate, criticism and reflection.

You can hide comments that are rude, offensive or ad hominem attacks. You should ban anyone who makes abusive and rude remarks (i.e death threats, threats of harm to others etc), or anyone who spams the pages (continuously) with irrelevant links or material, or anyone obviously trolling.

What should we be saying to commenters?

Make short positive comments either in response to comments, or to start a conversation, or to explain something to someone.

For example, in response to someone saying they support XR, you could reply:

How to deal with negative comments?

Negative comments can be either ignored or engaged with. They may be deleted later by a moderator if they are plainly rude or abusive, but comments critical of XR are not deleted if they can be explained or deflected.

Be careful when engaging with negative comments. Be polite, factual, brief, and importantly take care of yourself. If it doesn’t feel right or safe to answer then ask for support from someone else in your group, or ask for the group's wisdom.

Standard Responses

Check out this document to see a list of Frequently Asked Questions and how to answer them.

Facebook Groups

Facebook has built a set of tools to help admins and moderators of groups manage posts and members. We suggest that you set up some ground rules, as well as questions for people who'd like to join in (this is a good way to filter trolls out, especially if your group is a private one).

Suggested Group Rules
  1. XR Principles: We strongly encourage group members to adhere to Extinction Rebellion’s (XR) core demands, and their principles and values (available at https://rebellion.earth and under the “who we are” link there).
  2. Focus of group: This group is specifically for XR related news, actions events and solidarity shout outs, and to grow the XR community. It is not a space for general news, petitions and discussions. (this rule can be amended for whatever your group’s focus is).
  3. No hate speech, shaming or bullying: Everyone is welcome. Bullying of any kind isn’t allowed. Antisemitic, derogatory and or undermining comments about race, ability, religion, background, culture, sexual orientation, gender, or identity will not be tolerated.
  4. Extremism: The climate crisis is an existential threat so passion is to be expected, but XR will not tolerate extremist posts and are strictly non-violent.
  5. Be kind and courteous: We’re all in this together to create a welcoming environment. Treat everyone with respect. Aggression of any kind will not be tolerated.
  6. Language: This is a community space so swearing is discouraged in comments and disallowed in posts. The moderators reserve the right to delete content that transgresses this rule.
  7. Privacy: Please respect every group member’s privacy. What is discussed between members in the group should remain in the group.
  8. Responsibility for posts: XR [insert group name here] does not take responsibility for what group members post but will moderate according to these guidelines to the best of its ability.
  9. No spam or self-promotion: Self-promotion, spam, and irrelevant links & other content are not allowed and may be deleted.
  10. No Ad Hominem attacks: When discussing posts and comments, please focus on the facts of the argument you are making and not on the poster or commenters in a personal way.
  11. Adherence to these rules: The admins and moderators reserve the right to delete content or remove people who breach any of the above rules.

Examples of group joining questions:

Facebook

Everything you need to know to get the most out of Facebook.

Facebook

Getting to grips with Facebook

Welcome to the wonderful world of Facebook!

This page will get you started with the biggest social media platform in the world. Log into your account and let's get started.

Landing page

This is the first thing you're going to see when you open Facebook on your computer (explanations below): 1-landing-page.jpg

Wherever you are on Facebook, if you click this logo (white f in a blue circle) you will always come back to this page.

The search bar on its right will help you find pages, groups or events.

2. Stories

These vertical images are called stories. In fact, some of them might be short videos that will play once you click on them.

A story is a post that will stay on Facebook for 24 hours and then disappear.

3. Timeline

The top part of this area is dedicated to the creation of a post:

If you're not here to post on Facebook, scroll down and you will see posts from your Facebook friends, from pages you follow and from groups you have joined.

4. Notifications & Profile

If you have new notifications, you'll see a red circle with a number inside.

💬 The speech balloon icon takes you to Messenger where you'll find your private conversation with other people.

🔔 The bell icon is for all your other notification, for example if someone wrote a comment on a post you created.

Last but not least, if you click on your profile picture (top corner on the right hand side of your screen) it will open a new menu with more options, as detailed below.

Menu

2-menu.jpg

1. Access your personal profile

This is where you'll see your posts, your photos and videos...

2. Short cut to switch to your page's profile

If you have access to a Facebook page as an admin or moderator, click there to switch to your page's profile and "act as the page" (as well as on the page).

3. See all profiles

If you're an admin or moderator of multiple Facebook pages, you can switch between them by using this menu.

4. Settings & Privacy

⚠️ This is an important part: you can access various settings to protect your account (for example by setting a strong password), change the notifications you'd like to see etc.

Terms

We mentioned a few things that might not make sense for you yet. Here are a few explanations about what are:

Personal Profile

On your personal profile you can change your profile photo, your cover (at the top), add a description about you etc. You can also create posts from there for your Facebook friends to see.

3-personal-profile.jpg

Some people don't like sharing about them on social media and that's fine. Just make sure to visit the settings and change them accordingly to how much you want to share (with your friends only, with your friends' friends, with any Facebook user...).

On the opposite, you might want to use your Facebook personal account to do some activism and be loud about things.

4-post.jpg

  1. Click the drop down menu
  2. Select the privacy option you'd like to apply
    • public means that anyone visiting your profile, whether they have a Facebook account or not, will see your posts
    • Facebook keeps in memory the latest setting you used, so be careful when you post that it's the appropriate one for the information you're sharing

Facebook Page

A page is like a display window for a business, an organisation, a club, a charity etc. Anyone can create a Facebook page to share their work.

A page is a public space (anyone can see it and read its posts) where the admins and moderators remain anonymous (you don't who the people behind a page are).

Pages look a lot like a personal profile, but instead of displaying the opinions of a single person, they will show the work of an organisation.