Twitter Goes Global: Half of Users Now Outside U.S.

Inline ImageTwitter’s overall growth may be leveling off, but a new report shows that international users are flocking to the popular microblogging tool. According to fresh data from Sysomos, only half of Twitter users now hail from the United States, down from 62 percent this past summer.

Twitter’s move to support Spanish, Italian, German, and several other languages have contributed to global uptake.  Countries such as Brazil, Germany, and Indonesia saw the most rapid growth.

Brazil, which continues to show a passion for adopting new technology, now accounts for an impressive 8.8 percent of all Twitter users; Brazilians accounted for a mere 2 percent of Twitter users as recently as June of 2009. Germany and Indonesia each now account for 2.5 percent of all users.

As for the other top Tweeting countries, fellow English-speaking lands including the United Kingdom (7.2 percent) and Canada (4.35 percent) round out the top international followings.

Expansion of Twitter into multiple languages and lands may make the platform viable for global campaigns, so long as brands don’t rely solely upon an English-language feed to carry its stories around the world.


Beth Kanter Breaks Down Chase’s Epic Fail For Giving, Giving Anyone Interested in Philanthropic Giving Something To Chew On

Chase For Giving announced their winners this weekend amidst more declarations of fraud and responsibility-less giving. Beth Kanter breaks down how Chase could have run their contest better, or at least, managed expectations better and made it appear like they wanted the participating non-profits to beg a bit less for their money.

Her post is great and truly insightful and anyone interested in philanthropic giving and/or cause marketing will definitely benefit from reading it.
After you read her post, I left a comment with my own two cents about Chase’s epic fail. Basically, though when a philanthropic becomes a competition of which cause is better than the other — the competition wins. Not the cause. Somehow integrity ends up being for sale, which is a horrible outcome.

Ushahidi Crowdsourcing Platform Helps Aid Workers in #Haiti Reach Those in Need

Ushahidi’s crisis map-based platform is providing a swift and efficient way for those in Haiti to ask for help and for those on the ground giving aid to give it. The humanitarian community has never had such an up-to-date, comprehensive tool before and, seeing it in action, it’s really breathtaking (on the real map, there are colored markers but the screengrab wouldn’t let me pull the real map).

Those in need can not only express their needs — but also where they are geographically to increase the likelihood that aid will arrive quickly. Geographic coordinates are currently being gathered through:

Live streams
Situation Reports

Twitter just announced that it’s focusing on geo-locating abilities so, conceivably, in the near-future people can be found by their tweets alone.

As for how the map actually is getting populated, Tufts’ Fletcher school volunteers in addition to those at Ushahidi are assisting.

The Ushahidi Haiti website( also provides news, pictures, video and links for how to help. Those looking for help reaching those in Haiti can utilize the Google Crisis Response Person Finder

Ushahidi which means “testimony” in Swahili, was initially developed to map reports of violence in Kenya after the post-election fallout at the beginning of 2008. Ushahidi has since been used to track violence in Atlanta, Vote Report India, Tracking violence in the Congo amongst other really important causes.

Next time I’m asked why I think social media is so amazing? One word answer with a million possible applications: Ushahidi

Score One for Journalism (and us) H & M Style

H & M had a bad week.  On Wednesday, the New York Times broke the story that they had been destroying their unsold merchandise and disposing of the goods on 35th street(near one of their larger stores).  Especially in this economy and especially during our recent cold snap, learning that a major brand would rather destroy their winter coats than donate them is particularly atrocious news.  For those worries about supply and demand, there’s even a charity here in New York that specializes in brand’s castoffs, making sure that no one will try to return the merchandise or profit from the donation in any way — except on their person.   So, H & M’s actions seem particularly grinch-y.It took 1 day of tweets, blog posts, Facebook messages, and good old fashioned traditional media coverage for H & M to condemn its own actions and promise to do better immediately.Analyzing the story as a former journalist who feels super protective of the industry, it was a pretty warm and fuzzy story.   Hopefully, the power of the paper have made others in more, ahem, positions of power also take note.  I don’t have any comprehensive facts of figures, but the link I(and 99 other people) created for twitter was viewed 4,664 times as of this posting.  Not a bad click-thru rate.

Six Words on the Digital Life at SMITH Magazine

For those running low on attention but high on creativity, the new SMITH six-word memoir project should be the right speed for ya. Basically, they want 6 word stories(and not a word more) on a variety of subjects. Some even involve prizes(!). Choose from “Digital Life” ‘Food Life” “Mom-oires” and more and you could win some FRONTLINE dvds and some other nifty swag.

If you live in NYC, the 92nd Street Y is hosting a special 6-word evening with such literary darlings as Amy Sohn and A.J. Jacobs. And they’re hosting their own version of the six-word-memoir on Twitter(the obvious viral choice for brevity). Enter your own NYC story by including the hashtag #sixwordnycmemoir in your tweet and have the chance to win free tix to the Jan 24th event. 

I wrote a few entries myself and found it surprisingly hard to do. . . 10 words would be okay, but 6? “That takes a certain finessed talent.”

American’s Top Resolution for 2010: Cherish the Experience over the (Insert Expensive Gizmo Here)

When thinking about new year’s resolutions for 2010, it feels like we’ve all been making a whole lotta resolutions for some time now. Say, since fall of 2008.  One trend that the NYTimes covered today was how Americans are cutting back on spending and beefing up on shared experiences. Families that used to shop together now canoe together. Aww.

My apologies for the sarcasm, but the news is a bit unnerving. It took something as economically catestrophic as the recession to make certain americans snap to-it, in terms of realizing the inherent value of their friends and family??

It’s not just me that values experiences, however.  Multiple studies show that experiences actually make people much happier than, say, shiny new posessions.  The initial joy of the purchase fades while the memory of the experience does not.  So maybe we, as a culture, are oddly enough, on the up-and-up, eh? Better late than never, I suppose.

P.S. In other recession-y news, do check out the below March Madness-style bracket created(and personally filled out) by U of C Sports Economist Allen Sanderson; it takes 64 factors of the recession and pits them against each other for ONE. ULTIMATE. CHAMPION. Each “team” description can also be found on the American Economic Association’s website. What a sweet 16 they make. . .


2010: Year of Social Unrest and Scary Map?

Global tinderbox

Dec 28th 2009

2010 could be a year that sparks unrest

IF THE world appears to have escaped relatively unscathed by social unrest in 2009, despite suffering the worst recession since the 1930s, it might just prove the lull before the storm. Despite a tentative global recovery, for many people around the world economic and social conditions will continue to deteriorate in 2010. An estimated 60m people worldwide will lose their jobs. Poverty rates will continue to rise, with 200m people at risk of joining the ranks of those living on less than $2 a day. But poverty alone does not spark unrest—exaggerated income inequalities, poor governance, lack of social provision and ethnic tensions are all elements of the brew that foments unrest.

While I’m curious how the Economist calculated this map, it does make me shiver. With most media focusing on the improvements in the economy, I had thought the world was, slowly, on the up-and-up. Sure, the world economy is a slow moving machine but this map seems to imply WWIII is on its way…thoughts?

Home? Home.

Whenever I go on a trip, I think about all the homes I've had and I remember how little has changed about what comforts me.
-Brian Andreas

While in Nebraska, celebrating my second Christmas(the first being in Ireland in 2006), I attended Christmas Eve mass.  Filled with song, it was a surprisingly un-religious, religious service. The sermon revolved around the idea of home and how thankful the minister was that he and his congregants had made made it home for Christmas.  The rest of the sermon trotted along without adding further discourse to the subject but it did remind me of how the word "home" has always fascinated me. 

In high school I was a speech team member and read both verse and original verse poetry(nerd alert: I made it to state my senior year!).  One of the original poems I wrote was about the idea of home. What it is. What it isn't.

I recently came across the above quote from Brian Andreas and realized how true it is.  You might not know where you will want to live for the rest of your life, I certainly don't.  And work or family may force you to uproot yourself.  But, discerning what qualities of a home bring you comfort will surely provide infinite value to you. 

As for me, as long as I can read a quality news rag on Sunday morning while sipping coffee(or irish tea), I'm home. Perhaps…some jazz quietly lingering in the background.

The Atlantic has an extremely comprehensive list pondering the top 10 America ideas of the decade.

Check out #5: The Obama Uncertainty Principle.

“In 2008 we asked ourselves what kind of leader would follow the Bush regime. Barack Obama came as an answer in the form of a question. Was his election the high-water moment of America’s relationship with race, or was it the triumph of a post-racial personality? Are we witnessing a liberal philosopher-kingship, the restoration of pragmatism to politics, or just a serving of reheated liberal promises? We still don’t know. Even liberals can’t decide if he’s their greatest champion since FDR or a big bleh.

But maybe uncertainty is the defining idea of the Obama presidency. After eight years when a brash “decider” reigned supreme, we’re learning to live with a president who openly deliberates, who uses speeches to explain the shades of his reasoning, and who truly, visibly doubts: the media, the political system, the world, and America’s role in it. The color of the Obama presidency isn’t actually black or white. It’s gray.”

Pretty excellent analysis, me thinks…except that few seem to be okay with uncertainty. The American public may claim to hate the iron clad fist of Bush and yet, one year into Obama’s presidency, he’s being called a do-nothing and, horror or horror, a Chicago politician for promising empty dreams.  Obama’s presidency and, perhaps, all presidency’s should be considered grey while they are in motion. Otherwise, the fight for debate and in it, the fight for justice sours significantly.
The additional top 9 American ideas can be viewed on the Atlantic website.