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Twitter has transformed everything – from how we manage
natural disasters to the way we react to divisive media personalities
There are now half a billion Twitterers who send 340 million tweets a
day, and Twitter has changed the ways humans interact in a wide range
of fields. But what have we learned from the little blue bird over the
last seven years?
It can be a powerful force for change
The Arab Spring, which saw the populations of Middle Eastern nations
rise up against oppressive governments, is sometimes referred to as
the Twitter Revolutions, highlighting the role it played in activists
being able to quickly organise protests in Egypt, Iran and Tunisia.
It can be incredibly useful, and even save lives
In situations such as bushfires, floods, earthquakes and cyclones
where the usual forms of communication – phone calls, radio broadcasts
or TV bulletins – are either not available or ineffective in reaching
the necessary people, Twitter can function very effectively as an
emergency communication channel. It was used to great effect by
emergency workers and other organisations to send updates during the
2009 Black Saturday bushfires in Victoria and the Queensland floods in
2010-11 and 2013.
It can be a voice for the people
Twitter allows people to communicate directly with prominent figures
and organisations without the traditional barriers. When controversial
talkback radio host Alan Jones made his infamous remark that Prime
Minister Julia Gillard's father must have "died of shame",
outraged Twitter users pressured major sponsors of his successful
radio show to pull out.
When used badly, it can be embarrassing
It's a great way for companies to get customer feedback, but when
things go wrong it can lead to public relations disasters. Qantas was
left red-faced after the #QantasLuxury Twitter competition, which
asked Tweeters to share their dream in-flight experience but turned
into a forum for dissatisfied customers to share their gripes and make
jokes at Qantas' expense. #fail indeed.
Want to know more about how to harness the power of Twitter and other
platforms? TAFE NSW offers a range of social media and digital
marketing courses to kick start your career in this burgeoning industry.