Can Twitter save the world?

October 24, 2009

If you think that tTwitter logoweets are the mindless outpourings of those with more time than sense then this one’s not for you. But if you’re curious about how social media is increasingly influencing key areas of public policy then read on.

Reuters and the Amplified network are bringing together users of Twitter to discuss the idea that social media has evolved to the point that it can help solve real world problems.

Twitter’s role in transmitting news has been demonstrated numerous times, with its role in the Mumbai bombings last year and June’s post-election protests in Iran just two examples. But can that power be harnessed to improve the news?

Twitter’s seemingly effortless ability to mobilise citizen concern has been illustrated by the #welovenhs tag used at the height of the debate in the US over universal health care provision and more recently by the overturning of the super-injunction banning the reporting of the Trafigura case. But can social media go further and help re-engage a jaded electorate with the political process?

We’ll be debating the potential for social media in these and other public policy areas in London on November 11th. If you’d like to come apply for tickets via eventbrite (you’ll need a Twitter id to register and be warned -  this is not a listening event but a highly participatory one.) If you’ve got a suggestion for a real world problem that could do with some help from social media then let us know via the comments below. To track the conversation about the event then follow the 1pound40 tag on Twitter. And we’ll be updating this post with more details including live coverage plans for those who want to contribute via social media.

Update: BBC Director of Global News Richard Sambrook (@sambrook) will act as the catalyst for the conversation on Twitter and News, and Conservative MP Nadine Dorries (@nadinedorries) will be doing likewise for Politics and Twitter (Commons business permitting).

Kerry McCarthy MP (Labour) who had hoped to come but can’t make it has left us with this challenge:


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