Twitter and international development: Who to follow and why

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Twitter and international development: Who to follow and why


Twitter exploded in its public trading debut last week. From an initial public offering price of $26, the stock opened at $45.10, jumped to $50.09 by noon and settled at $44.90 as the closing bell sounded.

Interest in the stock solidified Twitter’s role as a legitimate form of public discourse -- proof that social media really can change society.

Communicating via Twitter is radically expanding the way we discuss international development--the conversation no longer is a one-way narrative but is evolving into a global, participatory discussion. Tweets can change the world, as evidenced in Cairo, Egypt, where Twitter and other social media played an integral role in the revolution and continuing quest for democracy.

Twitter has, when coupled with the increasing distribution of smart phones and reach of the Internet, an impact on global connectivity and transparency," said P.J. Crowley, the former U.S. State Department spokesman. "It has definitely contributed to the acceleration of the news process and helped to expand the availability of information sources to a wide range of people."

With over 500 million registered users worldwide and nearly 58 million tweets posted daily, it’s easy to get overwhelmed regarding whom to follow and which hashtags to care about. In an attempt to narrow things down, here's a list of three interesting users to follow for each of Global Envision’s six beats: mobile technology, financial inclusion, sustainable energy, social enterprise, value chains, and youth skills.

Mobile Technology

GSMA works to unite the mobile industry and development communities to drive commercial mobile services for underserved people. 

Reducing poverty through risk capital investments in innovative alternative energy, mobile technology, and agriculture tech startups.

The Mobiles4Dev Project documents and contributes to efforts to improve mobile-supported development projects, ideas and conversations on #m4d.

Financial Inclusion

Advancing financial inclusion to improve the lives of the poor.

Grameen Foundation helps the world’s poorest people, especially women, gain access to financial services, and business opportunities.


The Center for Financial Inclusion helps advance global financial inclusion through collaboration.

Sustainable Energy


A daily blog that features breaking news on solar, wind, and other forms of sustainable energy.

Andrew Winston is a business consultant, speaker, and writer who specializes in sustainability.

Andy Revkin reports on global environmental issues for The New York Times.

Social Enterprise
#socent and #socinn

Helps women entrepreneurs in rural Africa with an Avon-style system that distributes clean energy technology.

The Center for Social Innovation at the Stanford Graduate School of Business teaches students to become leaders in solving the world's toughest problems.

A compilation of blogs and analysis that explores the connection between development and enterprise for the bottom of the economic pyramid.

Value Chains

The Amsterdam-based Royal Tropical Institute supports social equity, environmental sustainability, pro-poor innovation and value chains for development.

Root Capital encourages rural prosperity by investing in small and growing agricultural businesses that build sustainable livelihoods in Africa and Latin America.

A partnership of 130 international organizations that work to combat poverty by supporting inclusive markets and financial inclusion.

Youth Skills

Voices of Youth is UNICEF's global online community for young people who want to know more, do more and say more about the world.

A collaborative learning and action initiative with the aim of harnessing knowledge to impact the world's 1.8 billion youth.

The Youth Employment Network (YEN) recently launched the Marketplace, a hub of exchange for youth employment and entrepreneurship.


Who do you follow on Twitter? What hashtags do you use? Can you add to this list? Let’s keep the conversation going to find tangible solutions to global poverty. Tweet us at @GlobalEnvision

Curated news and insights about innovative, market-driven solutions to poverty explored through news, commentary and discussion.

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