Saturday, June 6, 2009

Twitter and Social Services

When I discovered this mega-web site on the Internet, I was confused and curious. Learning the premise was pretty simple. Simpler than most but I wondered, why such a big fuss? I learned that marketing and social networking seemed to be the goal of creating such a site but with millions of users professing to be doing the 'same thing', how would one distinguish one post from another? The way that tweets zip down a stream reminds me of sticking my hand out of the car window as a child, and trying to catch one snow flake. If you do stop to read one article, you are in peril of missing one hundred more tweets traveling through your stream. How do you know what to stop and visit, and what you should just let slip by? I certainly understood the celebrity aspect of the site. As a society, we have always followed our celebrities and they were, in our living rooms. Their number of followers are massive. When one has 450,000 followers, how can you possibly watch your stream and attempted to isolate one tweet? It is akin to looking for a needle in a haystack. The social aspect of Twitter is fun. Meeting people, sharing thoughts and idea's and building connections. You look forward to seeing these people every time that you log on. They become friends and you soon share in each other's lives. You laugh, tell jokes, meet their friends and it is just plain old fun. As people watch your interactions with others, they get to see a bit of your personality. If they like what they see, you have a follower. If people like your bio, then you have a follower but I believe that observing actual interaction is where the magic is. I encourage people to come out of their shell and start to interact. It starts with just one tweet....and it can take off from there. At the beginning, I thought: aside from the social aspect from Twitter, what can I contribute? My profession is in the field of social services. I am a Counselor and I help people discover their own answers in regards to the problematic issues of their lives. I empower people to use what is within them to find solutions in their lives. I do not give advice, as a rule. I certainly didn't want to be a 'Dear Abby' on Twitter but I could see myself connecting people to social services, as I do this for people on a daily basis. There is a population of people who are down and out on their luck, for one reason or another. Homelessness, hunger, mental illness, addiction, AIDS, domestic abuse, runaway teens, etc... There are hundreds of social service agencies that have computers for these lost souls to use, free of charge to provide some meaningful connection with the rest of the world. These computers are always in use and their users are grateful to have access to them. Sometimes, it is the only friend that they have. I wanted to devote my Twitter site to those people who are looking for answers and may not know where to turn. They are users, among all the rest of us. I also wanted to point out to the more fortunate users... what organizations are the best of the best in dealing with these social issues. They may know someone who could use such services. And I wanted to add a human touch to my site, not just providing a long laundry list of services without being able to provide individual information on each one. Now, I feel confident that I have found a unique place on Twitter and my wish is that, as time goes by, people can depend on my site for education, information, compassion, empathy and kindness. I believe this is what may be missing on Twitter and just what it may need. My site: Please visit, and take a look around!

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