Wednesday, April 29, 2009

What are your three biggest Twitter moments?

I love speaking/teaching about social media at events where the attendees are relatively new to this space. And that's because they have 'fresh eyes' and a fresh perspective on these tools and always ask the most amazing questions. Yesterday at Social Media Club Birmingham's workshop, Daniel Rehner asked me 'What are the three biggest things you've seen on Twitter?'. I had to think about it for a minute, but here's the three biggest 'Twitter moments' I gave him:

1 - Twitter users reporting live during the Mumbai terrorist attacks last November. Twitter members that lived in Mumbai were able to give the world unfiltered and uncensored accounts of what was happening, as it happened. I remember @conniereece was helping put everyone in contact with Twitter users that were local to the attack sites, and I believe she shared that someone had created a way to show only tweets from Twitter members that lived within a 5-mile radius of the attacks.

2 - Twitter scoops mainstream media on San Francisco earthquake. Another case where Twitter broke a live news event first. Last month, a relatively mild 4.3 earthquake struck San Francisco, and almost instantly, Twitter users were tweeting it. And then it became a sort of game to track the time of the first tweet about the earthquake, and then see how long it would take a mainstream news source to report it. I think it took about 10 mins, which isn't bad at all.

3 - David Armano raising $16,000 to help Daniela. This was a classic example of the potential of social media to mobilize many people to help the few. David reached out to his network on Twitter to help them raise some much needed funds to help Daniela and her family, who were living with David's family at the time. The goal was to raise $5,000 in a month, and I believe almost $17,000 was donated by 545 people in a little over 24 hours (David if you read this and that's wrong, please correct me).

Those were the three I thought of when Daniel asked me, but what are the three biggest Twitter moments for you?


amymengel said...

I would have to add the twitpic of the plane in the Hudson - I think that's when I really started to see the power of Twitter.

Mack Collier said...

Oh that's another great example Amy! This is why I wanted everyone to share there's, because it's impossible to pick the 'best 3'. Thanks!

Sonny Gill said...

I may be biased here but Arik Hanson's act of selflessness and utilizing the Twitter community for a 'tweetathon' to help land job leads for Scott Hepburn and I, was one of the most humbling experiences I've had since being on Twitter.

mary said...

Those are all really great. I have to also add an Alaska event. The Alaska Volcano Observatory has been tweeting about the eruption of Mt. Redoubt. It provides updates on the mountain's status so we're prepared for impending ash flow but also beautiful pictures and some visitor information.

Have to say I've also found Twitter to be, unfortunately, a source of misinformation and "hysteria." As communication professionals we all need to think before hitting the button to post.

@heatherrast said...

Great post topic, Mack.

Mine are:
1) receiving such great encouragement and support when I advanced to a new position in February. I was humbled and moved.
2) (not surprisingly) the ongoing smarts that are shared by people in my network. They turn me on to new people, new ideas, and great resources that help make me a stronger marketer.

Stefano Maggi said...

My biggest twitter moments are always related to extracting added value and relevance micro blogging into a broader experience. I'd say P&G Digital night, the second (worldwide) blogchat and an exchange I had that improved my professional experience.
It's good you focus on biggest moments: it helps understanding how twitter generates value for you. And us of course.

Michael E. Rubin said...

I would have to say it was when Home Depot started using Twitter during the hurricane season. They realized that people couldn't stay in their homes, but they were connecting to Twitter using their phones and needed up-to-date information on supplies, building materials, etc.

I wrote about it here:

(*) Nick Ayres from Home Depot talked about this at BlogWell last year. Grab the case study materials here:

Amy's mention of the the twitpic on the Hudson is another very good one. I also think people are going to be analyzing the Twitterpalooza going on with regards to the swine flu for years to come.

* Disclosure: I used to work for GasPedal, which produced BlogWell. I don't anymore, but still consider the people and the content valuable.

Michael E. Rubin
847-370-3421 // // twitter: merubin

Arik C. Hanson, APR said...

For me, it's been the situations where you see social media working for social good: David Armano helping Daniella find a home and Danny Brown and the 12for12K legion raising money for charities and people in need come to mind immediately. I was also so glad to see the community rally around Scott and Sonny a few weeks ago to help those two land that next gig. It's time like those that make the difference for me.

Nigel Morgan said...

What a great idea!

1. I run a public relations company and when I first started to use Twitter I was searching for anything on our various clients... found one who unwittingly was annoying a Twitter - who was inside their store waiting to be seen!

A quick call from me and some suggestions on conflict resolution and the next Tweet that appeared was from a very happy customer.

2. Has to be when a free download from our newsletter was retweeted and retweeted and retweeted and went absolutely bonkers and is as close to viral as we have ever come! Two months later it is still being downloaded!

3. Helping people who don't quite get it and seeing them flourish on here and be just as abundant!

Good luck!

Twitter might grab headlines for the Hudson or Mumbai, but it is how it impacts on individuals that truly defines big Twitter moments.

Anonymous said...

1. Launching the Frozen Pea Fund of course stands out for me.

2. Another was the morning I heard news reports of the Virginia Tech shootings. Once AP confirmed it, I tweeted a 140-character story. @newmediajim saw my tweet and a few minutes later got a call from NBC with his assignment: travel to Blacksburg, VA.

His tweets during the drive to VA were raw and emotional, with a haunting quality.I felt like I was with the news crew. Over the next few days Jim gave us a remarkable behind-the-scenes view of both the tragedy and the media coverage.

3. David Armano witnessed some teenagers rescuing an elderly woman moments before a train demolished her car. You could tell from his tweets from the accident scene that he was powerfully affected by the experience.

Anonymous said...

What Nigel Morgan has said, I feel is vital. Being able to disseminate news quickly, not necessarily of a disaster, is a way of reaching out.
I have never used Twitter myself and now I see other possibilities after reading the post and specially the comments.
We are at the initial stages of a social media intervention program and this blog provides a fresh understanding.

MsMaverick said...

I discovered a breast lump a week ago and being alone in the medical facilities as I went through the process from discovery to examination to mammogram, ultrasound, diagnosis, biopsy, wait, surgery, wait, results to prognosis, I tweeted so my friends and family all over the world keep be kept informed, but for me it was really a comforter to be with people in real time as I sat all alone in these facilities dealing with a potentially horrible fate. The most amazing thing was how men and women not known to me from all around the world shared their own experiences, stories of wives, mums, daughters, stories of triumphs and thoughts of encouragement. It was live a cloak of love surrounded and protected me- so in this instance, Twitter was both INFORMATION but also EMOTION- the global heart! It was awesome and very hepful at a personal level.

Gavin Heaton said...

The Mumbai event really stands out for me.

But as Annalie mentioned, every day there are countless acts of kindness and personal bravery that I see. I think that the celebration of these acts (large and small) are one of the great gifts of Twitter.

Amelia G said...

I can't printout than, where as one thing is clear that is Twitter demands your regular presence to get entertained.