I value the knowledgeable community at my fingertips.

Earlier in the week I wrote about the power of community and how it had the impact to change a girl’s life. The strength of an active and engaged community is invaluable. Whether it is for serious life changing impact, or small trivial problem solving.  The other day I was once again reminded of how much I have come to rely on the advice and opinions of my twitter pals.

I had a problem. I needed to find a marathon friendly school dress. After a fruitless weekend searching Dimmies, Target and numerous op-shops I felt deflated.

So I posted it on twitter.

Within about 5 minutes this is what I got…

So many genuine offers of advice and assistance. It was amazing.

An engaged community, ready and willing to share their knowledge. So why doesn’t everyone see this value?

Everyday I still have the same conversation with people about the value of social media and in particular twitter. Why would I want to know what everyone had for lunch? As many of us know, this does not define twitter or the reason that the majority of people on there now use it as their number one news, information and knowledge source. You have direct access to politicians, journalists, athletes, chefs, specialists of all and any fields. It is real and real-time. And as I experience every day it is a valuable and wise community. One that is even willing to help me locate my perfect marathon dress. Awesome.

Without twitter to connect us this level of open communication and knowledge sharing would not be possible. Many minds are always better than one.

I did end up finding my school dress. The lovely guys over at One Girl actually sell Action Kits this year – which Chantelle shared with me… on twitter.

The dress still needs to go through my sewing machine and hopefully come out the other side fitting perfectly with no ability to chafe. But I am almost all set. Thanks to the responsiveness of my valuable online community.

My Do It In A Dress Action Kit arrived in the mail today too. Woohoo! Check it out…

The Chinese Twitter Jailbird.

This blog is usually a platform to voice all the positive ways that the online space is being leveraged to benefit society.

But @Melbourne_Muz brought this case of twittersphere injustice to my attention last week.

A woman in China was sentenced to a year in a labour camp for re-tweeting a message encouraging nationalist protestors to destroy Japan’s pavilion at the Shanghai Expo. (Check out the BBC article over here). Apparently her message was intended as a joke – but the Chinese government did not see it so.

As the BBC points out – this is a true example of how closely twitter, and all content online in general, is monitored by the Chinese government.

As the power of social media grows, so too must their worry and concern over how to control the individual voices & opinions it carries. An interesting space to watch indeed.