ComPRehension

Professional development and training blog of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA)
October 18, 2010

Twitter Boosts Internal Operations to Help Fight World Hunger


We all know and love Twitter. It’s great to communicate a timely message, promotion or deal. It’s ideal for customer service or engaging in two-way conversations with consumers. However, I never considered using Twitter for internal communications — until now.

Bettina Luescher, keynote speaker at the PRSA 2010 International Conference: Powering PRogress , and North America chief spokesperson for United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), shared her bone-chilling stories of providing hunger relief to children and families around the world, including a recent stint in Haiti after the category-seven earthquake struck Port-au-Prince and devastated the city. Knowing they needed to feed four million people in the span of a few weeks, the logistics team relied heavily on Twitter for internal support. As they traversed the mountainous terrain by foot, mule or any other form of transportation available, they relied on Twitter to alert staff of route changes, food drops and other time-sensitive updates that could impact the delivery of the food.

“We’ve never felt true hunger. It’s like having bleach in your stomach,” said Luescher, as she describes the pain and anguish she witnesses all too frequently. “WFP is not a hand-out; it’s an empowerment program. We provide the nourishment people need to achieve their dreams.”

As Luescher describes vivid situations in her career that had an impact on her life, both personally and professionally (like the time when a little girl confided she wanted to be a doctor; or when Paul Tergat, a beneficiary of WFP, became the fastest marathon runner when he crossed the finish line in NYC), it makes me think of how a seemingly insignificant platform like Twitter, if used right, can truly make a difference, or in this case, save lives.

To help WFP fight hunger worldwide, visit the World Food Programme website.
Follow the PRSA International Conference conversation live at #prsa_ic.

Ashley Walters, manager, Empower Media MarketingAshley Walters, manager, Word-of-Mouth Marketing, Empower Media Marketing, oversees social media planning and execution for a variety of CPG clients. Ashley contributes to Empower’s social-media-focused blog, “Social Study,” and is a board member for Cincinnati’s PRSA Chapter. Connect with Ashley on LinkedIn and follow Ashley on Twitter @Ashley_Walters .
For more coverage on the PRSA 2010 International Conference: Powering PRogress, visit PRSA Intelligence, follow #prsa_ic and the Conference blog.

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