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The Human Element of Tweeting

Sometimes, tweets are much more than just 140-character messages. Yesterday Twitter launched Twitter Stories – an interesting new site that explores the ways Twitter has affected people’s lives in the most unordinary and surprising ways.

On stories.twitter.com, Twitter lets people tell their personal anecdotes that range from inspiring to heartfelt to laugh-out-loud funny.For instance, Chris Strouth told the story of how Twitter helped him secure a new kidney. He suffered from kidney disease for three years before tweeting, “Sh*t, I need a kidney.” In just a few days, he said 19 people replied and offered to investigate whether or not they were a match. One person was an acquaintance named Scott Pakudaitis, who turned out to be a match, and donated his kidney to Strouth. (Take a minute to think about how social collaboration and crowd-sourcing could assist public health systems, at least in parts.)The idea is quite similar to Facebook Stories and to some extent Google Search Stories. According to Twitter, the idea is to remind “us of the humanity behind Tweets that make the world smaller.” Twitter is inviting people to share their stories by mentioning @twitterstories or using the hashtag #twitterstories and including a link or photo that explains their story. Each month the Stories page will refresh with new ones.

So, with the launch of a site completely dedicated to human interest stories that revolve around the real-world impact that a single tweet can have, it reminds us that technology is best served when it connects us to each other. This is why technology exists. When the product engineer or designer asks the question of, “How will this technology make peoples’ lives better?” –  we all win in the long-run.

Most of us have heard about the typical Facebook brand page blunders and the Twitter PR nightmares that some companies experience. Twitter Stories is a refreshing archive of the more uplifting and positive stories in social networking.

For brands, the ones at the forefront of the social movement will find new ways to leverage the success stories that their products and services have on customer outcomes. They’re creating ways to build their own brand stories around the positive sentiment that can be measured and tracked across the social web. If those human-enablement conversations are out there, any brand would be foolish not to tap into them and create an inspiring context for conversation.

As a new GSD&M employee, the best piece of advice I’ve received at the agency has been to, “Have fun and treat each other well.”  This is what Twitter Stories is about. Having fun, playing nice and finding out how we can help each other out.

Have you ever used social media to do something unexpected? Have you sent a simple tweet that made a big impact? Share your surprising social story in the comments below.

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