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Bill Clinton tells students the internet is changing the definition of good citizenship

9:31 PM, Apr 5, 2013   |    comments
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By Alex Fees

ST. LOUIS (KSDK) - On a stage in St. Louis Friday night, former President Bill Clinton introduced Twitter and Square, Inc. co-founder, and St. Louis native, Jack Dorsey.

Dorsey talked about his motivation.

"It was very simple," said Dorsey. "I wanted to go out into the world. I wanted to see what was happening in the world and anywhere I was and I wanted to update what I saw around me."

The exchange came at the 2013 Clinton Global Initiative University event, on the campus of Washington University.

Dorsey said Twitter was a simple idea in 2001. But the 140-character version the world is familiar with would not come for five more years.

"One of the design constraints of Twitter is that it is 140 characters. It's not only because I believe constraint inspires creativity and allows people to be in and of the moment, but also it works on every single device around the world. We could create a system where even with a $5 cell phone someone in Kenya could participate in same conversation that Justin Bieber was having in the United States of America. And in fact talk with Justin Bieber in the United States of America."

Clinton Global Initiative Board Member and former first daughter Chelsea Clinton introduced Washington University Chancellor Mark Wrighton.

But first Clinton issued a call to action.

"Re-orient the conversation around all our urgent challenges," said Clinton. "Whether it be in public health, or climate change, or poverty alleviation. Change from what needs to happen to how do we do what needs to happen."

"Seventy-five countries are represented her. All 50 states in America are represented. And I'm deeply grateful to those students at Washington University who are making the world a better place already. And we're going to learn from you," said Chancellor Wrighton.

Former President Clinton told students the internet is changing the definition of good citizenship.

"There has been an explosion of non-government organizations and individual activity, thanks to the internet, that basically amounts to private citizens doing public good. And I would argue it's one of the most significant developments of the last 25 years, even though it's been around a long time," he said.

All of the plenary sessions of the CGIU on Saturday will be live streamed. Click here for a link to the stream.


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