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9 March 2011 / erikduval

A teachable moment – or how Facebook and Twitter are about much more than what you had for breakfast…

This afternoon, I had the pleasure and privilege to present to an audience of 400 members of the University of the Third Age on the topic of “the google society”. I wanted to make clear how social media are about more important things than what people had for breakfast.

So, I decided to share a somewhat more personal story.

Last week, when I was in Canada for the LAK11 conference, I received the following tweet:

Even though we share the same last name, I don’t know André. I do know Guillaume and Kris a little bit – my sister is very close with them. I was baffled by the news – this is every parent’s nightmare… I tried to get in touch with my sister immediately.

I was also a bit worried about using twitter for this kind of message. The post above was re-tweeted more than 100 times. It may have reached 100.000 people. I worried about sending a tweet in support: would that be appropriate? But I did anyway – a four-letter word and a wish that they can find some strength in one another. I was not alone – the messages keep coming.

A day later, Guillaume posted this:

Matti’s friends used facebook to share their grief and organise an evening to burn candles, make music and talk about him. My sister tweeted about a web site up to remember Matti:

And today, in a letter in a national newspaper, Guillaume explains that each of the many, many messages helped. That he started many answers. That many brought their own stories to the table. That it helps to share.

The last sentence of that letter:

If that is the Facebook generation, then they can give the Zucker guy a statue. Is there a Nobel price for solidarity?

Or how the hardest of times can harbor a teachable moment.

Next time someone tells you that facebook and twitter are just a tool for trivial egotripping messages, tell them they don’t know what there talking about!

(And to Guillaume and Kris: you’re very much on our minds and in our hearts. Only those who have nothing have nothing to loose…)



Leave a Comment
  1. Brad Fallon / Mar 10 2011 5:20 pm

    Facebook and Twitter are not just merely tools for any kind of fun, they are very useful ones. Where would the struggle in Egypt go if it was without Facebook and Twitter.

  2. ils weidener / Apr 13 2011 10:46 am

    Hear! Hear!

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