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Can You Really Use Twitter to Change the World?


Last week’s Malcom Gladwell article on the inability of Twitter to effect real social change certainly shook some feathers.

Whether you’re an individual interested in how Twitter can be used in activism, a non-profit organization trying to create a movement, or a donor trying to promote a cause close to your heart, the article likely made you think. Here at Twitter, we were intrigued as well, and our non-profit account, @Hope140, responded immediately, asking our users what they thought:

This week, Twitter co-founder Biz Stone also addressed Gladwell’s claim in his talk at to the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco, arguing that although Gladwell has some good points, Can You Really Use Twitter to Change the World?

“The real-time exchange of information – a service like Twitter – it would be absurd to think it’s not complementary to activism. When it really comes down to it, it’s not going to be technology that’s going to be the agent of change. It’s going to be people; it’s going to be humanity.”

BlogWorld will be no different, and we will not shy away from the discussion. Indeed, this week’s panel at BlogWorld, “How Networked Nonprofits Use Twitter To Change The World,” couldn’t be more timely in the face of such a charged conversation.

Alongside panel moderator Beth Kanter (author of The Networked Non-Profit) and Danielle Brigida from the National Wildlife Federation, I’ll help explore exactly how Twitter can be a tool for real, world-changing activism. We’ll take on the naysayers and explore some of the very real challenges that Gladwell – and others – have posed.

Ultimately we’ll argue that being a networked non-profit is the way forward – on Twitter and beyond.

Claire Williams Díaz leads social innovation and philanthropy at Twitter. Her first book was published in 2010, and she regularly writes on such diverse topics as social media strategy, saving money, and generation Y. Find her at www.claire.us.com or via @clairew.


  • Janis

    Thought you might like to know the link to @Hope140 is incorrect. (One too many “t” in Twitter.)

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