Archive for the ‘Social Media’ Category

Twitter Hosts a Different Kind of Tea Party

Thursday, March 11th, 2010

When I think of a cup of tea, I think: calm, tranquil, serene. The mental picture is two hands on a steaming cup, eyes closed while I breathe in vapors that tantalize the senses with hints of chamomile, mint or citrus smells (depending on my mood).  Now thanks to a story from the Associated Press this week on Chinese activists going online to blast “drinking tea” warnings by meddlesome authorities, I’ll never see that cup of tea quite the same way.

According to the Associated Press story:

Police have long tried to shush and isolate potential activists, usually starting with a low-key warning, perhaps over a meal or a cup of tea. Now, the country’s troublemakers are openly blogging and tweeting their stories about “drinking tea” with the cops, allowing the targeted citizens to bond and diluting the intimidation they feel.

The movement is an embarrassment for officials, who are suspicious of anything that looks like an organized challenge to their authority. And it can’t help that “drinking tea” stories seem to be spreading among ordinary Chinese, including ones who signed a recent online call for political reform.

The country’s top political event of the year, the National People’s Congress, has given the stories another bump. More than 200 people say they’ve been invited by police to “drink tea” since just Friday, when the congress began, said independent political blogger Ran Yunfei.

 That Chinese activists found ways to go around official censorship of the Internet and get their stories out to others helps increased a sense of community for those under scrutiny and reinforces the power potential of the Internet.

 As we saw in Iran following the disputed June 2009 elections and for Haiti after January’s massive earthquake social media like Twitter can simultaneously allow users to spread information about events and draw in a truly international “coalition” of people who feel the same or empathize with the challenges. Those coalition members can and have raised the profile of the issue, raised money and provided invaluable moral support to those struggling through difficult situations.

 It’s a strange kind of magic that unfolds via spells crafted of 140 characters or less. And I, for one, can’t wait to see what practitioners come up with next.

And the TwOscar goes to ….

Saturday, March 6th, 2010

Every once in a while my curiosity gets the better of me. You know – like the spooked collegian who insists on going up the darkened stairs unarmed, wearing nothing but an oversized  t-shirt, tube socks and thong to investigate the thumping noises? Yeah … that never ends well.

Yesterday was a fine example (well, minus the thong ….).

“Somehow” (*she grins*) my followers and I ended up voting in an Oscar-weekend movie poll. Actually it’s all @JeremyCShipp ‘s fault. A tweet came through my twitter stream Friday afternoon from the aforementioned offender “what are your favorite five movies?” I answered and then couldn’t get the question out of my mind.

So last night Twitter, I asked. You answered. Oh, boy, did you answer! Dozens responded to the call. In the end the individual movies mentioned as favorites topped 240. A very diverse bunch of amazing films! Everything from Finding Nemo and Aladdin, to Jaws and Jurassic Park, to The Shining and Nightmare on Elm Street.

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Social Media: Heroes on the Campaign Trail

Wednesday, March 3rd, 2010

One of the most wonderful things about social media tools like Twitter and Facebook is the ability to locate and connect with people who care about the same issues as you do – and try to do something about them.

The Twitterverse is loaded with great individuals and groups hoping to raise awareness and campaign on everything from human trafficking to health care, from sports teams draft choices to saving favorite television shows.

(Yes, #heroes fans, I’m getting there!!!)

Here’s just a sampling of my evergreen favorites:

  1. Women’s issues/rights: @safeworld4women, @thewip, @GlobalFundWomen and @Womens_eNews are just a few of the tweeters out there raising awareness on women’s issues
  2. Rare Disease: @GlobalGenes and @rarediseaseday are among those raising awareness about #raredisease and what families face in battling rare, debilitating conditions
  3. Autism Spectrum: @autismtoday and @AutismMomExpert are among hundreds campaigning for #autism awareness and acceptance
  4. HumanTrafficking: @27millionslaves and @TrafficInPeople are among those campaigning to end #humantrafficking
  5. Human Rights: @witnessorg @EnoughProject, @AmnestyUK and @jonhutsun  

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