Some believe that Twitter has the power to change big events like Iranian elections. I think that its strength may be in much smaller, but still significant, ways.
In fact, I was the matchmaker recently between a Barcelona cabbie and an American employee of a pharmaceutical company. Well, a matchmaker between the cabbie and this lady's BlackBerry, anyway.
It happened like this:
I have a Twitter search in TweetDeck that alerts me every time the word "Asay" is used on Twitter. (I need to be able to track down libel somehow!)
On August 30, I saw this tweet:
Hi! I'm a taxi driver from Barcelona. Somebody knows Jennifer Asay? She works for (pharmaceutical company). I've her Balckberry [sic].
I happen to be married to a Jennifer Asay, but not this one. So I looked up her name on the Web and quickly found her on LinkedIn. I reached out to her there to give her the e-mail address of the taxi driver, which he provided in his tweet. I also replied to him to give him her e-mail address. No big deal, right?
On Wednesday, I heard back from Raúl, the taxi driver:
Hi! I am the taxidriver from Barcelona.
She has found me thanks to you.
I will be with her for I will give back its telephone.
Thank you very much by your work.
Nice, right? It gets better. Today, I heard from Jennifer, and it sounds like everything worked out, thanks to the power of Twitter (and LinkedIn):
I can't tell you how grateful I am that you reached out to me....by a miracle, Raúl brought me my BlackBerry today!
What are the odds? In our increasingly networked world, the odds are getting shorter all the time.
Again, it's a simple story, but one rich in possibilities too. Think about it. A twittering taxi driver reaches out to the massive echo chamber that is the Web and is heard by a complete stranger in Utah who also uses Twitter (me), who then turns to LinkedIn to find the sought-for person and connects them over e-mail.
There are lots of problems in the world. Communication--at least the possibility of communication--isn't one of them.
P.S. There's a very good chance that I've now ruined Jennifer's life by getting her back in touch with her BlackBerry addiction, but I want this story to have a happy ending.
Follow me on Twitter @mjasay. And if you find my iPhone, please tweet it. :-)