Twitter Communities and Leaders


I am a busy person and figured Twitter was just another time-sucking fad.  I didn’t want any part of it, but couldn’t ignore all the hype, so I bought the book on tape called Twitter Power by Joel Comm.  It left me convinced that Big Cat Rescue needed the power of Twitter, so I signed up.  Within three days, and before announcing our presence there to our 80,000+ supporters, was in the Top 10% of Twitters.  I can’t wait to see what happens once we tell the rest of our folks!


Cookie the TigerAt the same time I bought another book on tape called Tribes by Seth Godin.  He mentions Twitter once in his book, but the book wasn’t about Twitter it was about the social phenomenon that causes people to want to join together for a common interest and how most people are looking for someone who will lead them.  Having just read The 80/20 Principle by Richard Koch, it was still fresh in my mind that 80% of the change is made by 20% of the people.

Most people do not want to lead, because being a leader means you have to be willing to do something different.  A leader has to take chances.  Changing anything for the better means you will upset a lot of people who are quite happy to continue doing things the way they have always done them.  Leaders are often considered heretics and are criticized by those who are still stuck in the mud.  No one likes to be criticized, so only the fearless go on to lead.

What astounded me in joining Twitter is that there are millions of people who have stepped up to the challenge.  The entire premise of Twitter is that of Leaders and Followers and, in the case of Twitter, even the Followers are almost always Leaders of their own groups.  Now THAT is an exciting change in the way people are connecting.  Twitter didn’t invent the concept.  It was there at MySpace, Facebook, YouTube and many others, but Twitter has taken the concept mobile and has narrowed it down to just the most important sentence or two, by limiting the size of a “Tweet” or message.

Granted, most of the things people message each other about on Twitter is not important news, but what these very informal messages we share, about our day to day life, does is to connect us with others who share our passion in very personal way.

On my way to write this review, Tribes completed and the next book in line to play in my headset was one I had already listened to called Outliers.  Malcolm Gladwell talks about how the town of Roseto, PA sparked decades of research that resulted in the conclusion that people who are part of a “tribe” live longer, healthier, happier lives.  As Gladwell talked about an Italian community that immigrated to the U.S. in the 1800’s and  formed the town of Reseto, he tells about how doctors were puzzled by the fact that people in this town were far healthier and happier than those in surrounding towns.  The research showed that it had nothing to do with diet, exercise, where they lived, religion or any of the other factors one would expect.  It had everything to do with the fact that they all shared a common sense of community.

Twitter enables millions of us with common interests to share a common community in a very personal and minute by minute way.  We do it in the same way that ancient tribes did;  we share stories.  One of the stories told in Tribes was that of Nathan Winograd, who was just a dog catcher who couldn’t stand the fact that up to 90% of the animals in shelters are killed because no one adopts them.  He challenged the status quo of centuries of institutionalized killing of animals and thought of a better way.

Rather than killing millions of animals who became unwanted, he suggested spaying and neutering more animals so that there wouldn’t be so many to have to kill.  He was scoffed at by main stream organizations who had been killing animals for hundreds of years because that is the way they had always done it.  Seeing so many innocent animals killed hurt more than their criticism and he pioneered massive spay / neuter campaigns in San Francisco, New York and Nevada.  His methods continue to be successful and people are always happy to follow someone AFTER they have succeeded.

The wonderful thing about Leaders is that they don’t have to ask permission to make things better.  They just do it and eventually others catch on.

This is the power in Twitter.  Millions of people are willing to lead one person, or thousands of people, by sharing their day to day lives and by passing on actions to their followers that can create change.  If you care about animals, I hope you will follow us on Twitter at  It’s free and it could change your life and the world.

These are the books I mentioned above and well worth reading:

These are the books I mentioned above and well worth reading:

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