Monday, June 8, 2009

Today's Free Thought: Tomorrow's Common Sense

The freethinking of one age is the common sense of the next. ~ Matthew Arnold

I got this quote today from my tea bag and it couldn’t have been more perfectly timed. That is, I had already been thinking a lot about paradigm shifts and how things that are considered “out there” in one generation are often considered “normal” in the next (whatever normal is). Anyway, it got me thinking about the whole social media madness and particularly about Twitter, because I have recently begun to dive into it more and become more enamored with it (ok, I admit it I am a Tweetgeek).

While you wouldn’t know it by the number of followers or following me, I have just recently gotten turned onto Twitter and find it fascinating. I recently read a bunch of articles to learn more about it and its functionality and also the anomaly that is Twitter.

In a recent article in Time Magazine, “How Twitter Will Change the Way We Live” (, Steven Johnson wrote that “the sum total of those tweets added up to something truly substantive, like a suspension bridge made of pebbles.” That is, that at first glance we may dismiss Twitter as being a huge waste of time with the writing and reading of 140 character tweets. But if we begin to understand the how and what of Twitter, we may see how truly useful those little tweets may be to a bigger whole.

His example is one of a conference in which a group of approximately 40-odd educators, entrepreneurs, scholars, philanthropists and venture capitalists gathered to discuss the future of schools. Because they weren’t able to invite many others, they opened up the dialogue to people on Twitter and invited others in to provide input into the dialogue. While it started out with just people from inside the room, it quickly spread to others on Twitter who wanted to provide input. As a recovered policy wonk and continuing social entrepreneur, I am fascinated to see its potential use in transforming policy, social and environmental change.

While this is just one example of the many uses of Twitter that were not dreamed up by the founders, it truly demonstrates its potential for impacting not just economic/financial change, but also social, environmental and other changes to make the world a better place.

I have recently read a slew of articles about Twitter’s uses – the best collects several articles in one place (114+ Awesome Ideas on How to Use Twitter I highly recommend reading these articles and links as it provides tips on :
What to twitter about (,
Ideas for twitter for business (,
Ways to use Twitter for fun and profit (,
Tools to enhance your twitter experience (,
Ways to attract quality Twitter followers (,
Ways to increase twitter traffic to your blog (,
How to best utilize twitter for business owners (, and
How to use twitter (

So you may ask why do I care and how is this all relevant? I guess the bottom line is that Twitter is an emerging technology that has the power to bring together people from around the world in common causes and issues to not only super-business market and develop personal relationships, but also identify problems and solutions to looming social and environmental issues. It is an opportunity for the free-thinkers to get their thoughts out and have them heard and gather in a collective community to make today’s free thoughts, tomorrow’s common sense.

How do you think Twitter will transform today's and tomorrow's social and environmental issues? You can find me on Twitter @pilarstella.

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