Twitter in 2011 became the Great Facilitator. The Arab Spring being the most evident event shaped in large part by social media, namely Twitter and Facebook. In 2011, Twitter really grew up. It became more than merely a 140-character snapshot of the mundane and abbreviated thought. It became a catalyst, unifier and informant. Over 100 million people worldwide log in to Twitter daily. Every year, Twitter compiles a top ten list that the company believes is emblematic of the power of tweets. Here are 2011’s:
1.- A marketing manager at Google, Wael Ghonim was thrust into the political limelight after he was held in captivity by the Egyptian government for 12 days. Using Twitter and Facebook, Ghonim helped mobilize the revolution that ended the Mubarak regime saying, “I’m not a hero. The real heroes are the youth that are behind this revolution.”
2.- Unwittingly, Shohaib Athar from Abbottabad, Pakistan live tweeted the May 1st raid on Osama Bin Laden’s compound before any new agency broke the story of Bin Laden’s death.
3.- Through an initiative set to help homeless gain a voice, Daniel Morales created a Twitter account on a prepaid cellphone. His tweet simply said “my daughter her name is sarah m rivera”, followed by his phone number and a photo of Sarah at age 16. The following day, 27-year-old Sarah Rivera called her father and the two were reunited.
4.- During the 2011 NBA lockout, Oklahoma City Thunder player, Kevin Durant tweeted, “This lockout is boring…anybody playing flag football in OKC… I need to run around or something!” An Oklahoma State student responded and invited Durant to his friendly game with his fraternity brothers. Lo and Behold, Durant showed up, ready to play some football.
5.- The U.K. riots that rocked the country left quite a mess. A group organized by Dan Thompson, Sophie Collard and Sam Duckworth via Facebook and Twitter quickly grew to 70,000 followers and led a massive clean-up effort.
6.- Stefanie Gordon took a photograph from a plane of the May 2011 NASA launch of the Space Shuttle Endeavour. She tweeted it and a new perspective of the launch was seen.
7.- After a devastating earthquake and a subsequent tsunami hit Japan on March 11th, many people took to social media sites to ensure that family and friends were safe. Emergency response information was publicized through Twitter, ensuring that even in horrific natural disasters no one is alone.
8.- Avid soccer fan Julia Probst uses her lip reading skills to allow soccer fans to gain insight into on-the-field commentary between players and coaches. Probst tweets this running dialogue, allowing fans to be privy to information that they wouldn’t otherwise know and simultaneously raises awareness for deaf and disabled people.
9.- News anchor Okan Bayulgen used Twitter to publicize relief and aftershock information after the earthquake in Van, Turkey. One of his followers tweeted back the address of place where people may be trapped under the rubble. Bayulgen quickly sent this information to relief agencies and two people were rescued a couple of hours later at that very spot.
10.- Peter Shankman sent a tongue-in-check tweet on August 17th: “Hey @Mortons – can you meet me at the Newark airport with a porthouse when I land in two hours? K, thanks. :)” Upon his arrival, a tuxedo-clad waiter presented a happily surprised Shankman with a steak, shrimp, a side of potatoes, bread, two napkins and silverware from his beloved Morton’s. Talk about service!
Michelle Mayer is blogger at Mijo! Brands in Mexico.
Click here to read more of her blogs.