When I discovered that Twitter had signed up with not-for-profit organisation, Room to Read, to help educate millions of children in the developing world my first thought was: “Gr8!”
Because, as any regular Tweeter will be able to tell you, micro blogging and clear, well spelled and punctuated prose are synonymous.
Truly, Twitter’s ability to impart or help acquire knowledge, to facilitate the development of the powers of reason and judgment, and to prepare one intellectually for a mature life is unparalleled in the modern age.
For example, courtesy of Lindsay Lohan, I have learnt that: “More than 1 BILLION ppl don't have enough to eat - more than the populations of USA & Canada! We can change this!”
Ashton Kutcher imparted this gem: “never, ever, ever under any circumstance breakdance with your cat!”
And Lady Gaga is: “In studio writing music, already used up a whole can of hairspray. Feels like home. And then some.”
To fund the program, Twitter has created the Fledgling Initiative. It essentially sees the company joining up with winery Crushpad to help make bottles of Pinot Noir and a Chardonnay, then flogging them off for $US20 a pop. Five of those dollars will go towards teaching literacy skills to third world kids.
I’m sure this would strike a lot of people as the ultimate in Chardonnay Socialism. More so when one reads that “the Fledgling Initiative is a Twitter program that is driven by Twitter’s belief in democratising access to information throughout the world via tweeting”.
How spouting inanities at 140 characters a message does this, frankly, eludes me. One would have thought that strong freedom of information laws, a free press and an educated, inquiring and literate populace would be more likely to break open and share information.
But really, I’m all for reading. For one, people who can read keep me in a job. For another, the ability to read helps me zone out obnoxious public transport loud talkers (you people know who you are).
That said, perhaps, some time in the future as you sip your Fledgling Pinot Noir, you may receive an educated tweet from a grown up kid in Nigeria or Columbia that may just write something worth reading.