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By Gemma JoyceAug 13
Published September 15th 2014
It’s called Twitter Hindsight, but it’s really your very own Twitter time machine, giving you the ability to travel all the way back to the golden, pre-recession, Justin Bieber free days of 2006.
So, what would you do if you got your hands on this Twitter DeLorean, what parts of the Twitter universe would you visit? Here’s some suggestions:
https://twitpic.com/135xa – There’s a plane in the Hudson. I’m on the ferry going to pick up the people. Crazy. — Jānis Krūms (@jkrums) January 15, 2009
@jkrums tweet showed a surreal image of the passengers from the US Airways Flight 1549 standing on the planes wing whilst floating in the middle of the Hudson river. Other than the tweet being an extremely compelling image of human survival against all costs – it also caused a huge shift in exactly how Twitter defined itself.
Twitter – for the first time – had beaten major news outlets to the story of the year. It had produced a news article with an image far better than any news outlets could have dreamed of at a faster speed than any news outlet could have achieved.
In fact, the image used in the tweet was front page on some major newspapers: Twitter began in 2006 by calling itself a microblogging social network site. However, this tweet caused a shift in how they defined themselves. It became clear the platform could become the fastest portal for news and information. Twitter themselves noticed this possibility after the Hudson tweet and changed their strategy in-part because of it.
Just 10 months later they changed the question asked to users for status updates from “What are you doing?” to “What’s happening” in response to people ‘posting accidents on Twitter’.
Twitter co-founder Biz Stone admitted himself that the site was changing and it’s clear that much of that change is rooted in @jkrums incredible post.
The tweet helped save the struggling star’s career and ultimately showed the power of a passionate fan base.
We’ve deleted the rogue tweet but rest assured the Red Cross is sober and we’ve confiscated the keys.
— American Red Cross (@RedCross) February 16, 2011
Although many Twitter accounts today attempt to deal to novel mistakes like this in a human and real way – many back in 2011 had no concept of this type of response.
Most major Twitter handles three and a half years ago, would delete the tweet and pretend it never happened.
Red Cross broke the trend and dealt with the mistaking with a novel human response. This tweet changed the rule book when dealing with crisis management and you can still see remnants of this tweet in similar responses today.
Persiankiwi – an anonymous account – played a key role in channeling information about the 2009 Iranian election protests. This account became a vital source of authentic, on-the-ground information inside Iran, and was frequently cited by the global mainstream media.
Significantly, the account was one of the first to live blog a nation of unrest. The tweets provided a unique view into a scenario that would have previously been unknown to the outside world. Yes, reporters can travel to a war zone and show the tragedy, but they can’t display what it’s like to actually live through it.
Hindsight allows you to learn from the past, making your brand better prepared for the future.
We’ll be exploring how looking back at historic social data can help your business today in our next webinar. Our panel, hosted by Brandwatch CMO Will McInnes, will be discussing the use cases, best practices and benefits of using historical data. Check it out: Sign up to the webinar
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