Note on 11/22/2011: This happened 3 years ago, but as I look back on it, it still gives me goosebumps remembering how I felt that day. And the message of this moment in time still rings true today. As I enter the Thanksgiving holiday – I'm thankful for moments like this, where connections were made and real people helped real people who were in need. We've seen a lot more of that with texting aid for the Red Cross and such since then, but it all comes down to this – we're not alone in our social media cones of silence, we are truly connected. – Mike
I gave $10 to someone yesterday whom I've never met, seen or talked to. I logged onto Paypal and gave him the money. It wasn't much, but it felt like something I had to do. Why? Because the reality of the social aspects of social media came crashing into my computer yesterday morning while I worked. I often talk about why companies and brands need to be involved in social media. And we talk a lot about social marketing.
But, sometimes we forget the key word. Social. Social media is way we are all connected. Lives are intermixed in ways never possible before. And through this medium, I had a front row seat to a riveting and heart-wrenching tale as it unfolded live.
At 9:33 a.m. yesterday I saw this tweet from Michael Martine, "Tweeting this from the hospital. Jeep hit ice and slid right off the highway and hit a rock wall. I am miraculously unscathed. Need coffee." Michael is the writer of Remarkablogger, a social marketing blog I read. I also follow him on Twitter, which is how I was getting this message. Over the next few hours, he sent updates from the hospital. Reading his Twitter comments over the morning, I rode along his emotional journey that had its highs "OMG you people are amazing. I can hardly see, my eyes are filled with tears. Thank you." and its lows "I'm screwed – only car may not B recoverable. Bills R paid but after that I'm strapped. If U can pls donate" You can read about his experience on his own blog here.
It was a unique experience. This was someone I only sort of knew through our social media contact. But someone I did feel I knew. When he asked for help, I felt a kinship and felt I should so something, even if it was a small bit. Now, as a thank you, he's giving a free blogging webinar this Friday. Whether you donate or not, you can be a part of it. Just sign up here.
Sometimes we need a reminder that social media isn't just about making business contacts or learning online or marketing. It's about people connecting with other people in a very real way. My daughter has friends all over the world who share her passion for Japanese metal band Dir en grey. I have become friends with a fellow Detroit creative director whom I've never met. I've found lost friends that I had no idea where they were. Social media is a great tool for marketers. But, it's a great tool for humans, too. What's your story?