Twitter brings #PositionOfStrength to @TwitterCanada

Monday, 21 November 2016

#PositionofStrength is Twitter’s safety and women’s empowerment initiative and we recently brought it to @TwitterCanada. Following similar events in Australia, India, México, Ireland, the U. S. and elsewhere, we partnered with @MediaSmarts, @RCMP, @GetCyberSafe and @HighResolves for our Canadian launch in Toronto. Together with these organizations, Twitter seeks to engage women on our platform, facilitate open dialogue about safety issues and empowerment opportunities, and provide educational resources for communicating safely online.

The #PositionOfStrength Canada launch event hosted around 70 attendees for an educational presentation on how to use Twitter to find their voices online, communicate safely with confidence, and network with other like-minded women and the global community.

Two panel discussions and an open Q&A featured Canadian women from media, politics, business, and nonprofit organizations who shared their personal and professional experiences on Twitter.

The first panel was hosted by Twitter Canada’s Head of News Jennifer Hollett (@jenniferhollett) and featured Toronto City Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam (@kristynwongtam), Yummy Mummy Club founder and CEO Erica Ehm (@YummyMummyClub) and Yusra Khogali from Black Lives Matter Toronto (@BLM_TO). They shared how Twitter connects them with communities important to their lives and work, and how the platform is a powerful tool in starting and amplifying “counter narratives” to shift negative views through positive messaging. Erica talked about how Twitter has helped build her professional brand, her business, and introduced her to new friends. Black Lives Matter Toronto shared their experiences encountering online hate and how they confront it to counter hate speech. They also discussed the important ways Twitter has connected the group to a larger global movement. Finally, Councillor Wong-Tam told her story of receiving hate mail during the 2014 Toronto municipal election and why she chose to share the letters on Twitter.

The second panel featured two of our Canadian safety partners, High Resolves (@highresolves) and MediaSmarts (@MediaSmarts):

High Resolves is a non-profit working on building a generation of young people with the resolve to make a positive difference in the world through innovative educational programs for teenagers. Program Director @ChantelleKohn spoke about their development of a framework on Digital Citizenship to equip young people to use online space for social good, focusing on taking positive action in their communities.

Media Smarts is among the leading advocates for digital media literacy, and Jane Tallim spoke about their efforts in Canada and elsewhere. Their approach in developing resources, for both in and outside the classroom, to encourage young people to be responsible and informed digital citizens has led to a great partnership with Twitter.

Other participants who contributed to the conversation included Carol Todd from the Amanda Todd Legacy Society who spoke about the responsibility of everyone to educate young people about these issues. She emphasized the need to strengthen mental health support programs for youth in partnership with industry, government, and non-profits.

These ongoing conversations are fundamentally about online safety, the need and opportunity to empower women to effectively share their voices on Twitter, and to learn from others about powerful strategies in dealing with conflict as it arises.

We look forward to a continuing conversation in Canada and around the world in the spirit of our #PositionOfStrength initiative. Anyone and everyone should feel safe expressing diverse opinions and beliefs—online and offline—and the work and feedback from our users and our partners remains essential to the development of our platform. Thank you to all those who participated, in person and on Twitter.