December 9, 2014: Vaughn Hardacker here. A few days ago I received an email from a fellow writer who asked me the title question. My answer at that time was “no”. He directed me to the Thunderclap website (http://thunderclap.it) and I was intrigued. I’m not unique, like many writers I find the marketing end of the business to be a real pain in the keester. Publicity kills me. I have accounts on all the social media sites but seldom visit them. I’m not even a user of the telephone (even when I was in my teens I was not one to spend time on the phone–I found it much more satisfying to actually walk over to my girl friend’s house and spend a couple of hours there rather than talking on the phone until I lost all feeling in my ear). I am constantly being told: “You only call when you want something.” Well, Yeesss!I have always believed that people have better things to do than spend time on the phone with me…if I have something important to discuss or ask, then I’ll call. When we used to communicate regularly, a typical phone call between my daughter and me used to go like this: Me: Hello. Daughter: Hi Dad. Me: How you doing? Daughter: Fine. Me: How are your boys doing? (Note I didn’t ask about her first husband…I used to call him ZERO because those were his prospects.) Daughter: They’re doing great. Me: That’s good, here’s your mother. (At which time I handed the phone over and departed stage right…) However, there are two types of people on social media. There are people who spend hours each day monitoring their pages on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter, then there are unsocial people like me. I use electronic communications when I need to, not as a way to kill time. For ten years my cell plan gave me 100 minutes a month and I don’t think I once used a quarter of them. But I digress, back to the subject at hand. Thunderclap is a crowdspeaking” platform that allows individuals and companies to rally people together to spread a message. The site uses an “all-or-nothing” model similar to sites such as Kickstarter, in that if the campaign does not meet its desired number of supporters in the given time frame, the organizer receives none of the donations. On Thunderclap, backers donate tweets and social media posts rather than money. Campaigns can range between activism, fundraising, films, creative projects, and product launches. Notable brands that have run Thunderclap campaigns include the White House, Major League Baseball, People (magazine), and the United Nations. In her article, Thunderclap: Is louder better when it comes to transmitting your message? (http://deeson-me.co.uk/blog/articles/benefits-and-downsides-thunderclap), Clare Aspin includes lists of Thunderclap’s benefits and downsides. Among the benefits are these:
- By getting lots of accounts to send your message to their followers, you can significantly increase the reach of your message and people who do not follow you will see it.
- It shows you the analytics and details of all of your supporters.
Among the downsides are these:
- In order to support your Thunderclap, people have to connect with the Thunderclap platform and give it permission to access their social media accounts and send messages on their behalf. Many people will not do this as they do not want to give a third party that level of control.
- The messages are all sent at the same time, so you will only really reach people who are on social media at that moment.
Thunderclap is a free service, however, it does offer paid campaigns which allow organizers more flexibility with richer pages, updates to members, and more. I have created a campaign to announce that my new novel, THE FISHERMAN, is available for pre-order on all of the major book sales sites… The creation of the campaign is easy and when you visit the website you can easily navigate through the process. Once you have written your 140 character message (the max you can Tweet) and uploaded your media you submit the campaign for approval (usually takes 2 to 3 days), my approval came back in less than one day. Now comes the hitch (refer to the first downside above) before the message will go out you have to get 100 people to support you. Thunderclap provides you with a link (mine was http://thndr.it/1yvW11j) which you must provide to potential supporters via email, facebook, twitter, or any method you can. Once 100 people have accessed the link and authorized the Thunderclap platform to send messages on their behalf, the campaign will go live and on the date and time you set up, a single post will go out via facebook, twitter, and TUMBLR. Sounds simple…maybe too much so. I’ll let you know how it works in a later blog. Oh yeah, Happy holidays!!!
December 16, 2014: With six days to go it doesn’t appear as if I’ll be meeting the 100 supporter requirement. I’ve posted so many reminders on facebook (I have over 500 so-called friends) that I’m starting to feel like an obnoxious telemarketer. The fact that if you don’t obtain the 100 supporters your broadcast doesn’t go pretty much neuters Thunderclap as a viable PR tool. On a positive note several of those who are supporting me (21 at this time) have passed my posts on to their friends–so maybe something will come of this yet.
December 18, 2014 (2:30 p.m.): With four days to go I have 23 supporters. I must say that Thunderclap is more like a moped backfire. The requirement for 100 supporters renders this useless from my perspective. I have over 500 so-called friends on Facebook and only 23 signed on. Looks as if I better spend my time and energy on some other means of PR. As for crowdspeaking software…doesn’t do much good if the crowd isn’t listening.