Back in 2011, we were a group of college students who were angry with the level of self-censorship that existed within the mainstream Turkish media. Twitter felt like the natural home for our journalistic initiatives and at the time was becoming increasingly popular in Turkey. We were impressed by the thoroughness of communication and possibility for meaningful interaction. I remember we would ask ourselves, “I’m sending a Tweet to a minister and he’s going to see it?”. From communicating with newly established accounts, to the president of the country, it felt liberating and gave us a tool to bypass the political bureaucracy in seconds. That was the captivating catalyst for us - real connection, real accountability.
It’s why we established @140journos.
Today 520 out of 550 Turkish parliamentarians have active Twitter accounts. From Twitter diplomacy and domestic sports, to celebrities and trending topics, it’s a vital medium for understanding the social fabric of Turkey today. Tweets served as the primary vehicle for sharing live developments and information on the failed coup attempt last July. Tweets posted by @140journos were viewed 600 million times in 2016 alone. From day one, Twitter has been a true home for our important work.
Now we’re collaborating with the brand we love.
With a format simply entitled #, 140journos has organized a series of educational workshops across Turkey with the support of Twitter. The workshop series is intended to teach university students about the basics of citizen journalism as well as online safety. Within the scope of #, 140journos’ editors visited universities in cities where there is interest in citizen journalism, as well as potential for greater Twitter usage.
We developed a custom curriculum, including: Turkey and social media usage; how to use Twitter 101, keeping up with the conversation in Turkey through Twitter; best-practice journalism on social media; public opinion formation; and keeping communication safe on Twitter.
To demonstrate how Twitter is a safe and fun place for all kinds of conversations, our number one priority during the tour has been demonstrating the various reporting functionalities. Along with features like mute and block, people have the tools to moderate and control their own experience on the platform. After sharing these presentations, the 140journos team organized workshops on how to join Twitter for those in attendance who did not yet have an account of their own.
Hours of presentations, hundreds of students, thousands of miles in order to create a platform for students to meet and interact with the iconic bald ibis puppet of 140journos and the legendary Twitter bird - it’s been an amazing tour.
We’re excited for our continued partnership with our friends at Twitter. Whether you are conducting a journalistic project like us, or just sharing what’s happening in the moment, Twitter is where the world speaks.
You can read about Twitter’s latest update on safety here.