Tweets and Sweets
While time often seems to stand still here on Molokai, new technologies are becoming more and more prevalent in everyday life. One major force among these new technologies is Twitter, an online social networking service that enables users to network with other users via 140-character posts known as “tweets.”
Representatives from Maui Economic Development Board (MEDB) visited Molokai last week and successfully held Molokai’s very first “tweet-up” at Kamoi Snack-and-Go. A tweet-up involves Twitter users gathering at a designated place, logging onto their accounts (usually using their cell phones), and “tweeting” what they’re doing and who they’re doing it with. A tweet-up can build excitement and publicity for an event, or simply an excuse to meet other Twitter users in person, said independent social media consultant Peter Liu, who visited Molokai last week.
“With over 300 businesses on this island, social media is crucial to getting the word out,” said Liu, known on Twitter as @peterliu47. “It’s quick and it’s about keeping the conversation going and getting people engaged and getting the community together… It’s like word-of-mouth on steroids.”
“Social media is about having conversations,” said MEDB program director David Raatz, or @raatz. “We are here to absorb information and opinions from Molokai people.” Raatz said they hoped to return within the next few months to hold workshops, led by Liu, to educate the community on how to use social media sites like Twitter and Facebook to enhance online communications on this island while still keeping Molokai Molokai.
The benefits of incorporating more online social media on Molokai –though perhaps not immediately apparent –are numerous, according to local business owner Kim Svetin, who has been using online social media sites to promote her businesses for over two years.
“Social media is such a huge part of marketing now, it’s no longer just putting an ad in the paper, you need all the other elements as well,” said Svetin.
In addition to marketing businesses, social media has also been used to spread breaking news. Last year, when the tsunami hit Hawaii in March, it was Twitter that provided the world with accurate and breaking news as reported by locals, said MEDB’s Jody Yoshida, @jodyyoshida. While AP news erroneously reported distress and destruction sweeping across Maui, locals were “tweeting” actual pictures of their backyards that were relatively unaffected. “It wasn’t as bad as they were saying,” said Yoshida.
Twitter allows the average person to generate and spread the word, according to Liu.
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