The Power of Twitter

September 19, 2009 § 3 Comments

I just recently started using Twitter and thought it was pretty useless (in terms of direct benefit to my life) until the following event occurred.  But first I should give some background.

Last semester I took a business class at Haas called Entrepreneurship to Address Global Poverty.  Although I was a Human Rights major, a lot of my studies centered around poverty.  Therefore, I found this course intriguing and very, very interesting (that course quite possibly changed my life, and at the very least, my career path).  Long story short, our final project was to write a business plan for a social venture with everything from the makeup of the team to financials and marketing, etc.  I really liked our final project idea and decided to pursue it during my year off (a project that focuses on alleviating deforestation and promoting cleaner burning fuels all while creating a source of income for people in Malawi).  Currently one of my teammates and I are doing more research in order to submit our business plan to social entrepreneurship contests and such.

In doing so, we also need to make some real contacts in Malawi and work with organizations to ensure that if we do get the funding, the logistics will be in place.  Therefore, I need to meet some real Malawians.  Malawans?  Yes, I still have much to learn.

Moving on, a couple days ago I posted a twitter asking my followers if they knew anyone in Malawi.  I only have 38 followers (mostly people I knew from Berkeley) so even though chances were slim, I posted it anyway.  I also included a #malawi.  What # (called hashtag) does is basically hyperlink the word so that you can click it and see all the other tweets with that word.

I am not a hundred percent sure but I am assuming that the inclusion of the hashtag was the inciting factor in prompting Vince Kumwenda to start following me on Twitter.  Vince is a 25 year old Malawian working in the tech industry with the goal of making a difference in society.  I just messaged him and although no real time communication has transpired between us yet, I have great hopes in what he will be able to contribute to this project.  I have already learned so much just from reading his blog (http://www.vincekumwenda.blogspot.com/).

Once again, the Internet continues to amaze me.  That’s not to take away anything from the big man upstairs but still.

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