The Stories at Social Media’s Core

Changing the World One Tweet at a Time

Stories aren’t commodities, yet their truths are universal so that we all relate to them. They’re personal histories about real people who’ve done real things. Social media thrives on stories because people connect with people through the stories they tell each other. Curating live content in ten-minute segments, Jeff Pulver’s 140 Character Conference New York show brought together an unusual group of people who’ve changed the world in some way through the use of Twitter from headliners like Mayor Cory Booker and Ann Curry to former convicts and homeless people.

As people we innately feel the need to connect with others. Social media extends our ability to form these bonds. To this end, it’s important to ask questions that enable us to build relationships using these platforms. One of social media’s challenges, however, is our immediate emotional reaction. Often times, people respond on social media platforms without thinking – the response goes straight from their brain to their fingertips. Eric Weaver (@Weave) pointed out that 95% of thought process is emotional because rational thinking takes more time and energy in a time-starved world.

5 Stories about changing the world one tweet at a time

Here are five personal stories that underscore Twitter’s power to change the world one tweet at a time.

  1. Newark Mayor Cory Booker (@CoryBooker) is part of a social media community that helps him be a better person. For him, social media is just one tool in his toolbox. Booker wants to leave office with the city of Newark connected to get more done. In Booker’s words, a child’s imagination will expand to meet his vision of himself. When he sees how others have done it, his imagination increases and he can grow. This is the power that the Internet brings children.
  2. Ann Curry (@AnnCurry) made the point that as humans we want our lives to matter. Therefore, each of us must ask, “What’s my legacy?” By understanding the intrinsic value of each person, we make the world a better place because everyone has role to play in the world. In Ann’s words, if you step back and look at scope of human history, you’ll find that human kind is evolving into being more caring.
  3. Carey Fuller (@CareyFuller) was a homeless mom with two girls who motivated her to get beyond her homelessness. While many people assume that homeless people must be an addicts or have mental health issues, the reality is that the system can fail. According to Carey, as homeless person, you become invisible, not less of a human being. To earn money and get her feelings out, Carey wrote poetry that she published on Kindle, Writing From the Driver’s Side. Tape Carey’s words where you can see them every day as a reminder: All of us are in control of our lives; we’re doing the driving.” (Want to find out more? View this inspiring video about homelessness and social media.)
  4. Tijana Jackson (@tijuanajackson) is a former convict who’s come to appreciate the value of life. In his words, you need more than Twitter, put your heart and soul into 100 pieces of content and make them into your foot soldiers. (Hey, what are you waiting for?)
  5. Dr. Krupali Tenura (@Krupali) is a radiation oncologist who believes that the power of caring and asking can change a life. She told the moving story of a 79 year old, terminally ill cancer patient who wanted to live six months until her 62nd anniversary in October and wound up living until December to attend a concert by Andre Rieu, her favorite performer. Through the power of Twitter, Krupali was able to arrange for the patient to go backstage and meet Andre. Dr. Krupali closed with words from Plato that we should all heed. Be kind for everyone you meet is fighting a harder battle.

This conference and social media in general remind us that good content moves people. It’s not business plans but rather the real stories about real people and the connections we make with them. What are your stories and have you reached out to engage with real people in real time?

Do you have any stories that you want to share? If so, please include them in the comment section below.

Happy marketing,
Heidi Cohen


Hat Tip to Jeff Pulver for bringing this amazing group of people together.

Here are some related stories in which you may be interested.

photo credit: jma.work via Flickr

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  • Great story!
    I love reading stories like these. But at the same time, it gets me to think about what exactly makes these stories spectacular! Is it really twitter? Could Google+ have done the same thing?
    Or is it the immediacy and accesability of information and communication? Some time ago I had an interesting discussion with an old (85+ years) man. He had an interesting insight in that well, we used to have that type of communication back in the days. People would go to the pub or the square and talk. Everyone would know about what was going on and who needed what.
    This got me thinking that twitter just brought something back that the society got rid of some time ago.

    All in all, I am happy to be part of the social media and connected to you as well. 🙂