Before Christmas, while working on the Save the Great Bear campaign, I had an idea for a Twitter-powered site that could, if successful, be an effective engine for spreading news and calls to action for social change causes. I talked with sundry people about it, including Rochelle and Geoff (they made Twemes), Joe, Boris, James and so forth. Everybody seemed to think it was a good idea. So I submitted it to this contest on Changemakers.net (please consider rating my idea on the site–no registration required). Even if nothing comes of that (and the odds are against me), I’m hoping to build it.
What is 10,000 Tweets? Here’s a hastily-made one-minute video that (hopefully) explains what it does:
Focusing Online Attention on Good Causes
That’s it in a nutshell. After the jump I’ll excerpt some text from my Changemakers.net submission, which explains and expands in text what the video summarizes. Just to clarify, there’s nothing at 10000Tweets.com–the thing hasn’t been built yet.
10000Tweets.com is a lens for hyper-focusing online attention on good causes.
Twitter is a ‘microblogging’ platform that has enjoyed tremendous growth and attention over the past two years. It already has several million users, and is expanding at an astonishing rate. In essence, it’s a near-real-time network for spreading news about one’s day, sharing links and chatting with friends and colleagues.
News spreads incredibly fast on Twitter, and enables web-savvy users to provoke rapid actions–whether motivated by profit, goodwill or just fun–in their online network. In January, 2009, Toronto-based PR expert David Armano engaged his Twitter network to raise over $15,000 for a needy family in less than 24 hours: http://tr.im/bhnt.
10000Tweets.com aims to harness this defacto rapid-response network for good. It’s a simple website built using access to Twitter’s API. Each week, it displays a call to action that Twitter users are charged with spreading or ‘retweeting’ (repeating the message to their own Twitter network). An example might be:
Please retweet: Sign the petition to save the Great Bear Rainforest: http://www.petitionurl.com
The website displays the weekly message, and also shows a counter of the number of times the message has been broadcast. A call to action is considered a ‘success’ when it’s been retweeted 10,000 times. The site would be paired with a Twitter account (http://twitter.com/10000tweets) which would become essential to the process of disseminating the weekly message to a network of keen Twitterers would be the first degree of ‘retweeters’.
10000Tweets.com would also feature a kind of polling mechanism like Digg or Reddit, so that the community could vote for their favourite cause for the following week’s call to action.
Talking to smarter people than me, I’ve been assured that it would be pretty simple to implement. What do you think? Does this site already exist? Do you think there’s a spot in the Twittersphere for this sort of thing?