- About Us
- Regulatory Authority
- National Programs
- Digital Society
- News & Events
For Social Good, Follow Twitter!
How Twitter Can Inspire Social Good!
For many Twitter is a great social networking tool thanks to the simplicity of using 140 characters to connect with the world. But it’s the power of Twitter to inspire change that makes it more than your typical social media site – and it’s that power that led Twitter’s Social Innovation Manager, Claire Diaz Ortiz, to document some of the outstanding experiences that Twitter has helped to create in developed and developing countries.
The ICT Connector sat down with Claire in , following her participation at ictQATAR’s Everything Mobile Forum, which took place on February 4th-5th in Doha, , where she highlighted the various factors that inspired her to write the best-selling book, Twitter For Good: Change the World One Tweet At A Time. Watch the full video interview with Claire at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ITbbh7cyNwQ
What inspired you to write the book?
The idea for the book came from the speaking I do. I spend a lot of time speaking at a lot of conferences about how people can use Twitter to make a difference in the world around them. Over and over again, people at these conferences kept coming to me and asking, ‘Where can we find more information and learn more about some of the steps you teach and get to discover some case studies of those who’ve done this? That’s where the idea of the book came from.
Is there any particular experience that inspired you to write the book?
In 2007, I was working in an Orphanage in Kenya. It was about that time when I really became active on Twitter. I was the first resident of the country to be active on the platform – it was really what started my passion for social media and combining technology with social good.
What sources did you use to write the book?
I did a lot of interviews, some of them were in person, some via Skype or video chats. It was really the stories from other people that fueled the book and made it a success. I’m very grateful to all the people who gave me their time to tell their incredible stories.
In your experience, how did Twitter change the way people communicate?
The one thing that makes Twitter different from other social media platforms is that Twitter works via SMS in 70 countries and that’s why we see it working so well in developing nations. Twitter allows you to not only spread information but to access information and that’s the key to world change, putting information into the hands of people around the world.
What factors do you think would encourage more Twitter adoption in developing countries?
Access, access, access! It’s incredibly challenging to get Internet access in developing countries in order to access the platform. Twitter works on SMS in 70 countries but in countries where we don’t yet have mobile agreements, you need to have a WiFi connection or a smart phone or a computer to make it work.
How did mobile empower people in your opinion ? And how do you see the future of mobile?
Mobile allowed anyone, anywhere to be able to tell their story and connect with the rest of the world. A generation ago, it was all about sending a letter and waiting three weeks! These connections are ultimately how we catalyze change. Finding ways to connect better and faster is the key to creating positive change around us. I see the future holds even more importance for the geo-location of mobile-services that allow people to say where they are and use that piece of information as a key factor. I see more and more platforms will emerge, allowing us to do that.
What’s the main takeaway from the book?
The thing about the book is that it’s very tactical – with tons of case studies that are very much organized around the 5-step principle on how to excel on Twitter and how to make a difference in the world around you. I call it the T.W.E.E.T model, which is essentially a 5-step framework: Target, Write, Engage, Explore and Track. It’s all about finding a goal and figuring out what your Twitter account is all about. It’s about getting out there and saying what you need to say, via text or video without over-editing yourself. It’s about exploring and finding interesting and influential users out there who would help you. And finally, it’s about tracking: assessing whether you are really achieving your goals.
Are there any great Twitter accounts that have really made a difference that you’d recommend?
Mark Horvath, @hardlynormal is inspiring. He works for the empowerment of homeless populations in the US. It’s an incredible Twitter account of his journey with homeless people and how he uses media, particularly documentaries, to catalyze change.