Finding a reason to tweet, in DC or Malawi

February 6, 2008 at 5:12 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments
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Last week I sat through a webinar on how to use interactive technologies for advocacy work. I had a light bulb moment when I finally understood how Twitter could be used for a social cause. For instance, if a group of advocates are running around Washington DC meeting with different legislators, and they suddenly learn that Senator X is going to vote yes — they could send a Twitter message to their entire team, who can immediately start spreading the word. And here I thought Twitter was only for the text-addicted adolescent broadcasting messages to all their teenage friends.

But in Africa, I think Twitter has the potential to turn cell phones into the new Blackberry. The continent is now home to 300 million cell phones, and many people who are considered poor still have a phone. Cell phone behavior is different than the U.S. of course; the calls are short, the phone is shared, and texting is more frequent. Soyapi from Malawi has a lot of ideas on how Twitter can be used in Africa, from sending out news headlines and soccer scores, to organizing political campaigns and events, to announcing weddings and births. If civil society leaders were using Twitter, they could build entire networks around social issues for action. Soyapi is an early adopter, and you can get quite a birds eye view of his life by reading his Twitter log–like when the power outage came on and what program on TV is worth watching.



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  1. My good friend is working on this project, I think you may find it of interest. Have you already heard of it?

  2. […] cell phone is the blackberry and the personal computer. If used for business, study and organizing (see my previous post on Twitter), there is a lot of power people can unleash for low cost. This is important because many students […]

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