Friday, November 5, 2010

Tweet Storm

Almost all human rights activist have at least once stood in a crowd and yelled out loud with others, “The people united, will never be defeated”. I must admit that there are times that I miss those days of joining protests and shouting ourselves hoarse along with a group of like minded people .
On the other hand the advent of social media has been a boon to us aging activists who no longer enjoy bunking in the church halls, train stations and floors of houses of people we just met. Now I can sit in my comfortable study and make a nuisance of myself without having to hitchhike with strangers.
But there is one thing missing, beside the police lines and fresh air, that is the joy of hearing tens and sometimes hundreds of voices shouting the same thing at the same time. A perfect chorus of devotion to a cause greater than ones own selfish needs and desires. 

Sitting at my desk one day and tweeting about some thing or another, I just had a thought; What if we could bring the chorus in from the streets and onto Twitter? What would it take to do that? After all the Twitter people are notoriously independent. Loyalties are hard to earn and easy to lose here. Your followers hold you up to high standards and simple mistakes are not easily forgiven.  Would these group of fiercely independent thinkers be willing to all tweet the same thing at the same time?  Would they get it? What would be the concerns and questions I may have to answer? Would they stop following me?

Well, as it turned out they got it. Not one person ever asked me why. The only thing I was asked was, “how can I help?”.   I wrote a set of tweets for Shiva Nazar Ahari, put it on line and as they say the rest is history.
I was overjoyed to see that other people are taking up the same model and protesting their cause. This is a far better way of using Twitter than reporting about the bagel we ate!

Every week our small but persistent group stand together in spirit, even if we are physically separated, and spend an hour typing our fingers raw to help people we have never met. Now isn’t this the essence of humanity? Isn’t that the best sound human beings ever made in the silence of the Internet?

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