May 16


Twitter’s Impact on Social Media and the World

Author: elvis

Since its inception in 2006, Twitter has moved from a glorified status update service (such as Facebook offers) to an impactful and important source of news information and public advocacy. Twitter’s momentum grew significantly from 2006 to 2011 as celebrities and politicians began to use it as an announcement and communication platform and the number of active monthly users reached over 100 million.

Many companies have found huge success in twitter marketing campaigns, boosting both products and services, as well as support for non-profit initiatives. More powerfully, the last few years have led twitter into the realm of political and social action and reporting. Egypt’s 2011 protests saw twitter used to broadcast information and plans for organizing public protests to government action in the Egyptian Revolution. Twitter statistics are also frequently used as news in and of themselves, often serving as a basis for election and event predictions and turnouts. As of 2013, Twitter’s active monthly user base had grown to over 200 million.

The recent abduction of 276 young Nigerian school girls by terrorist organization Boko Haram has prompted a twitter response that exemplifies the power that the social media giant can hold. As the Nigerian government works to bring its girls to safety, the twitter hashtag #bringourgirlshome has circulated the globe, uniting supporters everywhere. In upholding a unified social media tag like this, supporters worldwide have gained the collective power to influence the agenda of political authorities to focus on helping retrieve the stolen girls from their captors. Numerous celebrities have endorsed #bringbackourgirls with their support and have raised immense awareness from their extensive and passionate followings.

Michelle Obama recently released a video statement regarding the abduction followed by a photo post picturing herself holding a sign that reads “#bringbackourgirls.” This trend has swept the globe via twitter, receiving photo contributions pledging their support from thousands of people including Queen Latifah, GAP, Valencia’s soccer team, and so many more.

Twitter’s overwhelming influence is embodied in a tweet by actress Nadia Sawalha, “As news stations lose interest lets make sure we don’t #BringBackOurGirls…” Noting the tendency for news programs to move on to the next big headline, the continuing presence and advocacy among twitter users is assuring that the issue of Nigerian abduction must not be forgotten and will be pursued until it is resolved. And such advocacy has already been impactful, prompting world leaders including US President Obama and French President Hollande to send troups to Nigeria to aid in the search for the children.

Twitter has moved from a social amusement to an impactful world resource and in doing so has begun to change the way we look at and are influenced by news and social issues. We can only wait and see what twitter evolves to in the future, but I have no doubt that it will continue to act as an important social catalyst and influencer to make people’s voices heard.