06/20/2009 05:12 am ET Updated Nov 17, 2011

Spreading Peace on Twitter

Twitter's name makes it sound like it circulates only inconsequential gossip. However, its ability to propagate ideas more rapidly than any medium in history means that it can also be used for profoundly evolutionary purposes.

On Tuesday, May 19th, Deepak Chopra (@Deepak_chopra) offered a simple 88 character tweet on Twitter "Please take the vow of non-violence with me today: Please RT!"

What followed offered a fascinating experiment in this medium's capacity to be a catalyst for something quite noble -- the spreading of peace on earth. Within one hour, there had been one hundred retweets of his post and by the end of the day, over two hundred. Each retweeter offered their encouragement to followers to join them in the vow of non-violence in thought, words, and actions. Hundreds did so. Many more watched the inspiring music video and the story of the origin of the global movement, which has resulted in close to 20,000 people taking the vow since it began in November of 2008.

This vow is not casual or easy; it is a permanent commitment to leave behind violence as an acceptable way of engaging others, even in our minds and in our words. Frankly, it took some serious reflection on my part as to whether I was ready.

The vow also includes a commitment to encourage two others to join you in taking the vow. It's thus designed as a simple viral strategy to create peace on earth, with a goal of eventually having 100 million people take the vow. That sounds audacious until we look at the current rate of growth. From 450 people who took the vow in November to nearly 20,000 who have done so six months later, the spread has been rapid, with close to a doubling of signatories each month. If the current rate of growth continues at the same pace, I Take the Vow would reach 100 million signatories by mid-June of 2010.

I believe this can be a powerful demonstration experiment of the deepest spiritual purpose of Twitter: for us to evolve our culture rapidly and to create major change on the planet with ease. Taking and then spreading a powerful vow that can truly lead to peace on earth takes only personal willingness, a few minutes and a few dozen words. If each of us took the vow ourselves and Twittered something as simple as the following tweet every month, the end result will be a very real contribution to reaching 100 million people on planet earth committed to peace.

I took the vow of non-violence with @Deepak_chopra ! Join me at Please RT!

Join me in a simple strategy for planetary change that can also unleash the highest potential of Twitter as a medium to empower the best in us. As we demonstrate what is possible with peace, the same approach can be applied to sustainability, health, poverty alleviation, and more.

You can find me @stephendinan on Twitter.