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Being tech savvy is a prized credential among the nation's top political organizations. As new social media tools have popped up over the past several years, the myriad activist coalitions and trade associations have started to use them to stay in touch with members and generate buzz.
In a contest among 102 of the nation's top pressure groups, cause organizations, and trade associations, the Sierra Club and Facebook are the winners.
The tech-oriented communications specialists at 2nd Six, Tribe Effect, and Chris Lisi Communications have just published a study on the matter. They surveyed 102 groups to see if those organizations used 14 online media tools, including: Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, YouTube, Flickr, e-mail, online action centers to let visitors get updates and calls to action, LinkedIn, blogs, Digg, SumbleUpon, widgets, blog badges (logos that bloggers can download and feature on their sites), and SlideShare.
The top five organizations were left of center: Sierra Club uses 10 of the social media tools examined, SEIU uses nine, and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, the American Wind Energy Institute, and Human Rights Campaign all use eight
The lower rungs of the tech-savvy ladder tend to be filled with industry associations that aren't particularly active, politically--groups one doesn't necessarily associate with activism. The Grocery Manufacturers of Amerca, the Dairy Farmers of America, and the Wine and Spirits Wholesalers of America used none of the 14 tools examined.
The most prominent groups in the bottom tier (and their scores out of 14) were the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (2), the American Council of Life Insurers (2), the American Petroleum Institute (2), the Biotechnology Industry Organizatino (2), the American Medical Association (1), America's Health Insurance Plans (1), and the National Petrochemical and Refiners Association (1).
Prominent groups from the top tier included Business Roundtable (7), the League of Conservation Voters (7), the U.S. Telecom Association (7), the National Rifle Association (7), the American Farm Bureau Federation (6), the U.S. Chamber of Commerce (6), and the United Food and Commercial Workers Union (5).
On average, the 102 organizations utilize 3.36 of the 14 tools available.