The Real Value of Twitter

No to murder.
Can Twitter save lives? According to Malcolm Gladwell’s piece in the 04 October 2010 issue of The New Yorker, the connection between updates and action is too far removed to have a real impact on lives. Some disagree. And if the social gadgets Andy Carvin is putting together really work, we could be seeing the start of Twitter tools that change all that.

“Lowering the barrier to activism doesn't weaken humanity, it brings us together and it makes us stronger.”
Twitter Co-founder Biz Stone- The Atlantic, 19 October 2010

In an ongoing effort to harness to power of social media in areas of conflict, Mr. Carvin is culling resources so that those closest to the action can get their message out to the rest of the world. His latest effort is focused on the turmoil in Tunisia. These first-hand witnesses to history are providing the most immediate—and the most poignant—perspectives of developments from inside uprisings, natural disasters, and authoritarian regimes.

Through efforts like Crisis Camp and the collection of information from within troubled territories, Twitter, and social media in general, can get the right information to the right people at the right time for them to act. The tools to get this information out exist now. Building something to make it easier to act should be the new focus.

More and more, eyewitnesses are writing the first draft of our collective history on Twitter. It’s what we do with that initial information that will decide how our history will be judged. Innovation on the Twitter platform is vital to greater information distribution. Its usefulness is still growing, and as we continue to build on top of it, the real value of Twitter will soon be realized. I’ll keep building, and see you on the ‘morrow, on the Web.
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Author  Stephen R. Fox