March 27, 2011

Happy 5th Birthday, Twitter!

Posted by Dr. Laura Guertin

Hard to believe that Twitter is now?/only? five years old.  It’s amazing who has embraced this form of social media, from television stars and athletes, to zoos and national parks.  Even nonprofit organizations and the White House have their tweets!  Twitter has played a notable and significant role in connecting people after natural disasters (Haiti, Japan) and during political demonstrations (Egypt).


But I’d like to share a short example of how I’ve seen students use Twitter.  The honors scholars at my campus just finished a two-week awareness campaign to help people learn about human trafficking and modern-day slavery.  One of the methods they used to “spread the word” was Twitter.  They came up with a logo and name for their campaign.  They followed organizations and individuals on Twitter that had similar concerns.  They tweeted during the two seminars we hosted on campus.  They retweeted information and postings from other organizations.
Did it work?  Was awareness raised?
The nice part about Twitter is that you don’t need a Twitter account to follow the conversation.  We had many students go to our site and read the information – nice, short, 140-character bites of information.  We even had someone from outside the university send us a message, asking us if we were having a human trafficking conference, as the information was so great.
Our two-week campaign is up, but students are still tweeting and getting engaged on campus.  Students now want to do a Twitter campaign for global water issues.  If 140 characters can get students engaged and excited to continue to learn more, then yes, Twitter works!  I sure hope it is around for another five years, at least.
You can visit our Twitter account at:
Articles on Twitter’s 5th birthday:
Happy Birthday Dear Twitter!  Now You Are 5 Years Old! (link)
Dismissed as a joke, Twitter Revolutionized the Way We Communicate (link)