From Tim Phillips (York Amnesty)
“Facebook” may be the most widely known on-line social media but it is by no means the only one; another is “Twitter” – a social networking and micro-blogging service that enables its users to send and read text-based messages of up to 140 characters, known as “tweets”.
Twitter is reported to have 10 million users in the United Kingdom and
200 million active users world-wide.
Anyone can sign up for Twitter, use of which is free of charge. Anyone
who is not signed up can still read tweets, for example by browsing to
The explanation of this web address is that Twitter users can group
posts together by topic or type by the use of “hash-tags”, i.e. words or
phrases prefixed with a “#” sign.
To see news (from the local group of the human rights organisation
Amnesty International and others) about human rights (events et cetera)
in and around York, browse to
Social media including Twitter worked wonders on Sunday 26 May, when, to
quote the University of York’s student newspaper (Nouse), “Over 100
students and members of the public turned up outside the York Mosque and
Islamic Centre at Bull Lane on Sunday afternoon after rumours of a EDL
rally surfaced on Facebook and Twitter on Saturday evening. The York
community stood together as an act of solidarity against fascism that
very afternoon.” This story has been reported by the York Press, the
BBC, ITV, the Guardian, the Sun and media around the world – but only
after the event. Twitter users were able to find out about it in
advance, for example via the University of York’s Amnesty group which,
at 10.27 that morning, tweeted “an open invitation to York’s bull lane
mosque from 2pm today, amid threats of EDL action. join us for tea and
solidarity!” Other Twitter users promptly “re-tweeted” the same post to
a combined potential audience of around 3000 people – and so the word
To quote a song “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised”. It might,
however, be co-ordinated using Twitter – as already occurred in Moldova
in 2009, Iran in 2009-2010, Tunisia in 2010-2011 and Egypt in 2011!
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