Twitter is usually seen as a tool that connects us to the rest of the world, reach out to the world, express and articulate in a cogent manner whatever thoughts and ideas are consuming our minds at a particular point of time.
But Twitter is far more: it has actually helped script history, and usher in social and political change, allow the oppressed and downtrodden unite their forces to make a desired change.
One of the most significant incidents where Twitter made an incalculable difference to the people in recent history is the Egyptian revolution at Tahrir Square earlier this year.
Revolutionaries who wanted change in the political situation in Egypt used Twitter as a tool with which to reach out to others who wanted change with them. In those 18 days of the revolution, Twitter helped serve the cause of liberation—Egypt’s liberation from the oppressive 30 year regime of President Hosni Mubarak. In fact, such was the overwhelming role played by Twitter along with other social networking tools, that two days before the fall of the regime, Mubarak arranged for internet access to be denied to Egypt.
Participants used twitter to organize their movement, often providing hard-hitting live coverage to what was going on, and motivating others to join their cause. People tweeted even as they witnessed the historical events unfolding.
Even after the fall of the regime, tweeters are using the site as a tool with which to document the transitional period, as Egypt, recovers the setbacks it had suffered under an oppressive regime. Meetings are arranged with the help of tweets, and spread the word about different projects and undertakings.
Even in the recent campaign against Tunisian President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, Twitter played an indispensable role in creating awareness about the need for change and a new leader. Twitter was used to make detailed campaign plans, and generate mass support.
In the recent past, Twitter has been censored in places of political and social unrest. This gives us a good indication of the fact that it is actually making a difference to people’s minds and ideas, and exposing the failings of those who exploit the fact that they are in positions of power.
So if you are using Twitter to spread the word about your cause, here are some tips you could follow: To begin with, make sure what you say is genuine; tweet as a thinking breathing human being, and not as a PR agent for an organisation: it is the unique passion and genuineness in your personality that will shine through, and make people follow you and lend support to your cause. Tweet frequently, respond to what followers say, give adequate weightage to their views and keep them in the loop.
Considering that almost everyone has a mobile phone with internet access in it, it is the perfect tool that helps dissolve artificial barriers of class, wealth and nationality, age, sex and religion. On Twitter, you are equal to fellow Tweeters, irrespective of your bank balance or nationality. Twitter has made the world a smaller place, and all the tweeters part of a global village.
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