VegAssist aims to provide a positive vegan support and advice network, by connecting new or curious potential vegans with a following of experienced vegans, using social media. We want everyone who is retweeted by VegAssist to be glad that they were.
VegAssist's Twitter implementation is an automated bot with the user handle @VegAssist The VegAssist Twitter bot retweets people who express an interest in becoming vegan. VegAssist's Twitter followers will see these tweets appear in their timelines, and are invited to reply to offer support, encouragement and tips.
How to Participate
Participation is simple!
- If you are a vegan, create a Twitter account if you do not already have one. We encourage you to have a profile pic; Twitter's default avatar is an egg, which isn't very vegan :)
- Follow @VegAssist with your Twitter profile
- Give a read to our helpful Engagement Guidelines
- When you see a retweet from @VegAssist, and you feel like you are in a good position to offer support or advice, simply reply to the tweet, saying what it is you want to say to the person seeking support!
- If you're maybe not in a position to offer support to a retweeted person in the form of a reply tweet, consider simply "like"ing their tweet. A little bit of positive support might just be all they need right now!
Everyone's experience going vegan is different, and so everyone will have a slightly different approach to how they advocate for veganism. This is great! A diversity of opinions and approaches is key to an effective movement. With the VegAssist project, all we ask is that our followers engage with kindness and empathy for the people we retweet. We offer the following tips to help give you idea of what we mean:
You are engaging with a real human being. They are curious about going vegan, but they likely don't have a heck of a lot of exposure to veganism in their life. Getting a sense of their situation by just asking some simple questions, or having a look at their bio/timeline, can be a great way to make a stronger, more relevant connection!
This one's not always easy. The subject matter of veganism isn't always pleasant. It's great to talk about the health benefits, delicious recipes and food choices, and awesome community, but the realities of animal agriculture also come up, and can be a powerful motivator for people on the cusp of making the change. With the goals of the VegAssist project in mind, we offer this general rule of thumb: We want people to be glad that they were retweeted by VegAssist. In this spirit, please never harass or insult a person who was retweeted by VegAssist. Please avoid language that will make the person wish they had not been retweeted by VegAssist.
Since starting the VegAssist Twitter bot, we've amassed an amazing and enthusiastic community of vegans seeking to help other people make the switch. That's awesome. We love it! It means most of our retweets will get someone's attention! When you want to respond to some VegAssist tweets, have a look to see if other people have already responded. It's definitely cool if more than one person respond, but if the person looks like they've gotten the support they need already, consider moving onto the next one.
VegAssist can only read the words in a tweet, but it doesn't really understand sentiment. Sometimes tweets will slip through that are not really honest expressions of a person's intent to go vegan. Maybe they're being sarcastic, or making a joke. Please just direct-message either @VegAssist or @Plorry with the tweet, and we will unretweet it. Please do not include the VegAssist bot in any mentions if you choose to engage with this person. We recommend ignoring them.
As stated in the Project Goals, we want to make sure that everyone who is retweeted by VegAssist was glad that they were. If our users harass or otherwise disregard the feelings of someone we retweet, then this goal has failed; this person will likely be unhappy that they were retweeted by VegAssist. Worse, they may believe that VegAssist bot targetted them specifically to direct that kind of attention their way. We do not want people to think being retweeted by VegAssist bot will lead to any unwanted harassment. Sometimes conversations that start with the best intentions can go south, and constructive advocacy can fall apart. At this point, our advice is to disengage.
If we find a particular user persistently harasses or insults others who are retweeted by VegAssist, we may block this user from following VegAssist. It is important to us that VegAssist remains a tool for supportive and positive advocacy, and that people retweeted do not feel harassed by our followers.