5 Ways to Use Twitter for Social Good

Twitter turned 10 years old on Monday, and, true to the spirit of the medium, tributes and analyses have been flooding in all week long.

We’ve seen “best of” lists and “history of Twitter” timelines. Tongue-in-cheek odes to Twitter Moments, and attempts to satisfy that collective need for instant gratification. We’ve seen at least a few observations about the world of “two Twitters”: the public company (which has lost 75% of its value in the past two years) and the “real-time information service” (which everyone loves.)

Whatever your take on Twitter and it’s “more or less uncertain future”, as Mathew Ingram of Fortune wrote this week, there’s no denying that it has fundamentally changed the way human beings interact. Specifically, in the ways we relay, and also consume, information.  At C.Fox, we leverage both sides of that give-and-take equation in communicating stories of social good.

It seems fitting then, for the occasion that this week we offer 5 Ways to Use Twitter for Social Good:

1. Twitter allows for “democratic philanthropy.” In this post for the Chronicle of Philanthropy, columnist Tom Watson explains how Twitter empowers individuals to play just as big a role in advancing social causes as “moneyed philanthropists”. He wrote: “On Twitter, it’s not who you know, it’s who you are, what you say, what you share, and how valuable your information is. Yes, Bill Gates will always have more followers than you do. But on Twitter, you’re in the conversation.”

2. It gives a powerful voice to those who feel voiceless.  In this New York Timespiece, activist DeRay McKesson, who protested the 2014 shooting death of Michael Brown, explains:  “What Twitter has done, specifically for traditionally marginalized and underrepresented communities, has redefined the public sphere. When I think about Missouri, people would’ve convinced you that we just did not exist in August 2014. Twitter was where the links were shared. It was where the images were shared. Literally, when people were told what was happening, it galvanized the nation.”

3. There’s really no better breaking news source for the events that shape our world. From the Fortune post: “The moment that US Airways Flight 1549 landed in the Hudson River, and Janis Krums put a photo of it on Twitpic; the protests in Iran and then in Egypt during the Arab Spring; earthquakes and tsunamis, mass shootings and men on the space and everything in between—that’s the Twitter beloved by news junkies everywhere.”

4. Its tools help you get smart – fast – on the conversations, causes, and campaigns that matter. If quick insights are your goal, Twitter Polls are a free, easy, time-bound, and wildly popular feature (the company reports that 1.7 billion votes have been cast since Polls were introduced last fall.) And tools like Twitter lists help you curate the most influential voices in your universe, easily scan for developments within the causes you care about, and stay organized all the while.

5.  In just a few characters, it can inspire and remind us of the many reasons we do this work. In short, it’s what #GivingTuesday has done for philanthropy, or what #BostonStrong did to keep a community together. It’s what #BringBackOurGirls did to spark a debate on the role of social media in foreign policy or what #SFBatKid did to restore our faith in humanity. Twitter shines brightest when it gives us instant access to humanity—at its very best, and sometimes at its worst. And in these 10 years, it’s given us more than one good reason to do good, for the good of others.

Happy Birthday, Twitter. May you always inspire us to do good.

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