I had a terrific time as part of a panel yesterday at Baruch College called Social Media and Technology: What Nonprofits Need to Know. The event was co-sponsored by the Personal Democracy Forum. The other panelists were:
- Andrew Rasiej, Founder of Personal Democracy Forum
- Deanna Zandt, Media Technologist, Consultant, and Author of the forthcoming book: Share This! How You Will Change the World with Social Networking
The moderator was the spectacular Kyra Gaunt, muscicologist, anthropologist, technologist and every other ologist you can think of!
Farra Trumpeter was in attendance and wrote a terrific summary of the event. But a conversation began during the session on Twitter and continued afterwards that I thought was great fun. Micah Sifry, Andrew’s co-founder at PDF, was tweeting the event. Kyra asked the panelists about their personal “Aha” moments with social media. Mine was the amazing story of the women of Kuwait who used their blackberries, often beneath their burkas, to successfully pass full women’s suffrage in 2005. That was the story that led to my writing Momentum. The end of that story was this spring when, again using their blackberries and personal networks, four women were elected to the Kuwaiti legislature!
Micah started to use the hashtag #aha on Twitter and asked others to tweet their own personal social media aha moments. For hours last night, people around the world were sharing their stories. They included:
- Micah kicked off the tweets by writing: My SocMed #aha moment was when someone in a #SXSW panel asked the mod for a #hashtag & neither of us knew what he meant
- antheawatson: Arriving May 08 in rural IN as an Obama FO + finding group of vols with an office doing voter contact. They met on MyBo.
- Sarah Granger: My #socialmedia #aha moment: launching Gary Hart’s presidential exploratory blog early 2003. Instant community.
- Pierre Omidyar: @pierre: My #aha: 1996: people using eBay to defy stereotypes and connect unexpectedly with strangers over common passions.
What a great way to extend the panel beyond the walls of the conference room and an absolutely perfect way of using Twitter to share experiences. Thanks, Micah!
Note: Micah just spotted a mistake here with his eagle eye. The tweet attributed to him above about SXSW was actually from Hash Tager. Micah’s “aha” moment is here.