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#Winning With Real-Time Social Media: Disaster Relief, Hashtag Revolutions, and Celebrity Twitter Rants Through the Now Lens

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Within the past six weeks, major events have firmly established social media as the #Winning communication tool of our time... and naysayers need not apply. That real-time social media provides a "Now Lens" for viewing the world when and where events unfold is quickly becoming undeniable. Finally, the digital fire hose of people's opinions, dreams, hopes and anxieties, are being unleashed and shared worldwide, anytime, anywhere.

From the survivors and loved ones of the devastating Japanese and Christchurch earthquakes; to liberated Tunisian and Egyptian citizens; to a celebrity who has upended every traditional public relations rule, the Twittersphere has ignited as a lifeline, a peaceful revolution mobilizer, and a digital megaphone. Though the Twitter hashtag #Winning was inspired by actor Charlie Sheen's mesmerizing public rants both online and offline, individuals and entire countries are winning by harnessing the power of Twitter and other social media platforms, often with breathtaking results.

On January 12, 2010, 1 Tweet -- from the White House -- helped raise an awe-inspiring $33 million in donations for the Haiti earthquake. Cut to Austin, TX 2011 and attendees at a keynote at the prestigious SXSW conference tweet that the Red Cross is now using 90999 for #Japanaid. Philanthropy and disaster relief giving will never be the same, and that is #Winning.

There were 1,200 tweets per minute from Tokyo alone in the first day of the Japanese earthquake. Clearly, in the case of disasters, one cannot downplay Twitter's power and significance to amplify heartfelt wishes, donations, and desperate family messages in real-time. That is #Winning.

As for the Middle East, the world is still in awe from witnessing the 30 year rule of Hosni Mubarak end in 18 days due to a nation galvanized via social media. When Google marketing executive Wael Ghonim spoke with CNN's Wolf Blitzer, he credited Facebook with the success of the Egyptian people's uprising. To the citizens of Egypt and Tunisia, that is #Winning.

Astute marketers are realizing that the mysterious "Social Media ROI" code may have been cracked by the marketing and branding power swirling around Sheen. So far, his paid tweets and intriguing product placement seem to be producing #tigerblood that runs green. His inspired Twitter hashtag #Winning has quickly entered the public lexicon and is now applied to everything from Girl Scout cookie sales, to a good day on the stock market, to a window seat on a cross-country flight. People everywhere are proclaiming that they are #WINNING.

One thing is certain. More events and personalities will be employing real-time social media platforms as they try to duplicate the staggering results we've seen to date. The payoff of this non-stop social media exchange is how we're connected and pulled together in global sentiment. That's #Winning -- a globally connected world, fueled by the fierce and majestic power of real-time social media, and producing measureable results.

Beverly Macy is the CEO of Gravity Summit Events and Consulting and the co-Author of The Power of Real-Time Social Media Marketing, published by Mc-Graw Hill in January, 2011. She also teaches Executive Global Marketing and Branding and Social Media Marketing for the UCLA Extension in Westwood, CA. Follow her on Twitter @beverlymacy; @PowerRTM; @GravitySummit.

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