“I did not get Twitter at all when I first joined Twitter. It felt dirty actually,” Milano said onstage at the Fortune Most Powerful Women Next Gen conference.
“I followed all those celebrities that made Twitter kinda famous but every time they did self promotion it was dirty.”
To understand the social network, the actress, made famous by her roles on “Who’s the Boss?” and “Charmed”, turned away from her peers and started looking at users who had large followings but weren’t famous.
She realised those people were curators of information, and would only share what they thought interesting.
“I started using Twitter as a platform to share things that are interesting to me and that are important to me,” Milano said.
Her obsession with Twitter began in earnest, though, during the Iran protests in 2009. At its peak, 98 per cent of the links on Twitter had to do with the Iranian revolution, according to the Pew Center.
“The thing that really got me just obsessed with Twitter were the protests in Iran. And we were getting real-time information,” Milano said. “To get information unfiltered from the ground in Iran just really rocked my world.”
The actress and entrepreneur now has 3 million followers — more than Bernie Sanders, the political figure that she often retweets. Part of her appeal to fans is her unfettered access and lack of the ‘dirty’ promotional tweets. Instead, she posts about everything from breastfeeding and parenting to her love of sports.
She views as a little mayor of a community she’s created amongst her followers and wants to share information with that community, she says. Since the Iranian protests played out on Twitter, she’s grown to think of the social network as a tool for change and democratization.
“There used to be a time when you needed a leader to create a movement. Now you just need a moment,” Milano said. “A moment can create a movement in social media.”