Posted by: Mark | March 11, 2009

The Tweet Heard Round the World

This past Thursday night I was skyping with a group of 9th grade girls in Australia as my puppy was chewing on my toes.

This needs some explanation, I know, but I figured that after critiquing Twitter from a philosophical standpoint in a previous post, I needed to throw out there a cool Twitter story of productive networking to balance things out.

(Before I get started with this: totally random side-note. Being that this is my first blog, I don’t exactly know how to respond to getting comments. Do I email the commentor back and say thanks? Do I reply? Do I just let them sit there? I’ve mostly tended toward the latter, but I’m extremely grateful for the amount of people who take the time to read my blog and comment. So for the many many of you who have not been thanked for your input, I want to do so now. I’ve had a couple posts that have generated comments that really challenged my thinking, and so thanks.)

Back to my Skype conversation with Australia. One of my earliest follows on Twitter was @intrepidteacher. I picked up on him because he has blogged about the Daraja Academy before, and is a good friend of the founder Jason Doherty. In the subsequent months we’ve had a ton of solid back-and-forth about life, politics, and of course, Daraja. (For those on twitter, @intrepidteacher is one of my favorite follows and I highly recommend him. He’s good for a solid political rant or 10, some fun updates about his daughter, tons of introductions, and in general will make you think.)

Anyway, he recently introduced me to @jennyluca. She’s a librarian and tech co-ordinator for Toorak College in Mt. Eliza, a girls school in Australia. She has been working with her students and the web for years to support charitable causes, and through @intrepidteacher’s introductions, was interested in learning more about Daraja Academy. We ended up swapping a handful of emails back and forth to each other, and the next thing I know I was invited to a Skype call with her group of 9th graders to share my passion for Daraja. It was 7:30pm my time, 2:30pm the next day in Australia. @intrepidteacher skyped in after me. And now that group of motivated girls is off working on a concert/fundraiser to help support Daraja. In fact, one of the students even joined Twitter so she can ask more questions and get more info about Daraja.

So, for the many many nay-sayers out there who think that Twitter is just a narcissistic time sink (and the critiques have been piling up in light of Twitter’s mainstream popularity), I point out this story. How else could a teacher in California (me) connect with a teacher in Doha, Qater (@intrepidteacher) and subsequently connect with a teacher in Australia (@jennyluca) to get 9th grade girls involved in raising funds for a girls school in Kenya (@daraja) without the power of the Twitter? (For those that are counting, that’s 4 continents.)

I will admit that Twitter can be a repository of narcissistic banality, but without it, Australian students wouldn’t be helping Kenyan girls get a high school education..

(In other words, I still encourage everyone to go and give it a try! I’m @marklukach….see you there!)

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Responses

  1. Reminds me of this post of mine from Jan 2008, (also involving Skype and Jabiz!) which really opened my eyes to the power of this thing we call Web 2.0

    http://sddc.blogspot.com/2008/01/podcast-with-clay-burell-on-helping.html

  2. Great post. Restores my faith in all those hours spent sifting through tweets!

    I’m struggling with how to respond to comments as well. For now, I try to post my own comment with personal mini-comments for each commenter.

    I can’t believe I just used that word three times in one sentence.

  3. Hey Peeps,

    Keep up the Good work.

    Love Heaps

    Sky

  4. […] My experience involves Twitter, Twitter Search and RSS! I have been actively involved in promoting and supporting my best friend’s project in Kenya, called The Daraja Academy. I have written about my connection with the school extensively here and here. Twitter has helped me meet and befriend board member Mark Lukach who Tweets @marklukach, as well spread Daraja’s story to Jenny Luca in Australia who Tweets @jennyluca. You can read Mark’s account of our connections here. […]

  5. Great story! I’d heard about this Daraja-Australia-U.S. conversations through @intrepidteacher, but it’s nice to know how it all started. Oh, the power of the web…

    And, about comments – good question! I email commenters back, but I’ve noticed that not many others do. It never bothers me, though, because it seems like the standard m.o. But I’m just like you – I appreciate the comments and want to encourage conversation on my blog, so I’m going to make sure to make contact with people who find it.

  6. I’m awestruck by this. How *wonderful*! Congrats to all of you.

  7. WOW! great example and great story.


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