Friday, September 18, 2009

Twitter: The New Mathematics

/PRNewswire/ -- The following comments were delivered today by Dr. Benjamin Ola. Akande, dean of Webster University's School of Business & Technology, to introduce Twitter creator, co-founder and chairman Jack Dorsey as the University's "Success to Significance 2009 Person of the Year." The event was presented by Webster's School of Communications and School of Business & Technology.

My favorite equation in mathematics is the original equation, one from which all other equations evolve. In my opinion, it is the holy grail of mathematics. The irrefutable law of mathematics. It is the convention in conventional wisdom. 1+1 equals 2. May I dare suggest to you that this universal truth may become something of our recent past? The reason: Twitter.

Twitter has successfully created a new equation which states that, 1+1 equals countless possibilities.

1+1 is equal to 3, to 300, 3 million. It is equal to the power of the written word -- 140 characters, succinct, precise and concise. Twitter is equal to the possibility to make a difference, to be a contributor to society for the greater good of mankind. Twitter is becoming the definitive equation of our time not just for its simplicity but also for its exponential potential of increase.

One of the ways in which we verify the overwhelming impact of a product and an idea is when it becomes a verb, a part of our lexicon.

Much like Google, Twitter has become a universal descriptor for sharing ideas in a concise format that speaks to universality, democracy, immediacy and transparency.

Twittering is a conversation between two people yet the definition of two is singular, infinite and boundless. Twittering has become a language unto itself. Words and symbols strung together in a deliberate order to create spontaneous, and sustained, bursts of ideas.

Twitter has in effect dismantled the constraints and boundaries of time and space between us. It is an enabler of ideas that has empowered the young and the young at heart to share and stay connected.

Twitter has fundamentally transformed the way we talk and listen to one another; the manner in which we inform each other and has extended and strengthened the power of the written word.

If I were to state the impact on society in 140 characters or less, I'd tweet "Twitter is to our generation what Guttenberg's printing press and Bell's telephone was to theirs."

In just three short years, Twitter's 40 million users have made it a public forum for the discussion of politics, business, culture, news, celebrity, gossip and idle chatter.

People are tweeting to raise money, to recruit talent, to make government more responsible, to find and distribute news, to discover knowledge, to build personal or business networks, or to just kill a little time with friends and family.

In the new book by Shel Israel, entitled Twitterville, the author makes a convincing case that Twitter's worth is not only the ability to broadcast short messages, but also the ongoing and transformative conversation that these tweets can ignite.

You know, every generation produces individuals who come along and make life better for those around them. They are notable individuals who rise from small and big places. They come from humble beginnings, unrecognizable even while in our midst. They are innovators, doers, ordinary people who enable others to achieve what has never been done before. The new math is Twitter.

With its home campus in St. Louis, Webster University (www.webster.edu) is a worldwide institution committed to delivering high-quality learning experiences that transform students for global citizenship and individual excellence. Founded in 1915, Webster offers undergraduate and graduate degree programs through five schools and colleges, and a global network of more than 100 campuses. Its 20,000-plus student population represents almost 150 nationalities. The University's core values include excellence in teaching, joining theory and practice, small class sizes, and educating students to be lifelong independent learners, fully prepared to participate in an increasingly international society.


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