Last night I truly felt the power of the Twitter revolution. And for me, it was lavender hued. Like thousands of others, I waited anxiously for the New York legislature to take a vote on marriage equality, and my usual trusted information source was no where to be found. Excuse me New York Times, how are you so absent in one of the biggest American civil rights struggles of this generation but you can deploy ample resources to provide constant updates on Middle East uprisings? Instead, I turned to Twitter and the community tagging their discussion #NY4M—and what I got was a wealth of information from citizen journalists and non-profit professionals reporting live on the ground and in the balcony, as well as thoughtful and witty insight from thousands of others nervous and anxious just like me.
There were the serious questions asked and answered: What does it mean for the Senate to be “at ease?” What’s going on with the rule committee? The supportive: We’re with you NY, hang in there! The humorous: Couldn’t they add some Gaga to the music that plays on the Senate’s livestream feed when they’re on break? The community building: Let’s all head to Stonewall Inn to celebrate! It was like being at a big gay cocktail party and being able to eavesdrop on whatever conversation was most interesting.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m no Twitter newbie. I’ve been at it awhile and find it useful to reach a set followers interested in my writings, travels, musings. And I advise a lot of companies about the importance of using Twitter as one more tool in their communications arsenal. Personally, I’ve met friends and professionals that I truly enjoy following their exploits—what’s @onefoodguy eating in Boston or where is @_FromMeToYou photographing in New York or what latest travel nightmare has @wendyperrin stumbled into today.
But I’ve never felt like part of a community. I’ve always sort of felt talked at in Twitter. Last night, I understood the power of a group of individuals focused around a single topic—the fight for human rights—and how technology can help bond us, make us stronger, helps us persevere. When no other news source was providing up-to-the-minute coverage, sisters were doing it for themselves. Thanks #NY4M.