We are seeing the effects of social media unfold right before our eyes in a very personal way.
We have a severely disabled daughter, and she has a chance to get life-changing (for her and for us) transportation. I have posted about it on a blog I just started dedicated to telling her story. (We actually started a blog years ago, but it tapered off under the time pressures of taking care of her. So we decided it was better to just start fresh.)
I actually heard about the promotion earlier because a colleague had entered it, and we didn’t want to compete or have our friends feel divided loyalty. But other friends independently suggested that we enter, and since the top 10 percent of vote recipients will be considered, and the final decision will be based not on votes but the story that accompanied the entry, I decided to go ahead and give it a try.
(By the way: the rules say you can vote once per day per email address, so I urge people who are friends with us both to make use of a different email address and vote for our mutual friend as well.)
Facebook and Twitter helped build a strong initial following, as first our friends voted and then shared with their friends. Everybody who has entered is deserving, and all of them (or, since I can’t verify that statement, most of them) are using social media in various ways and forms.
Honestly, I hope you will add your vote (read how here). But I also find it fascinating from a communication point of view. There is a whole community that has come together around this cause on behalf of me, my wife, and our daughter. Friends of friends, spreading out far beyond the initial circle, continue to vote and to share the message with their own friends. This is a powerful leveraging of social media that shows its impact. We hope it will lead to tangible results, but the intangible effects are extremely valuable. I can’t tell you how grateful we are for everyone’s concern and support!
We have also learned from what we’ve seen other entrants doing, and have formed a Facebook group where supporters can share insights and encouragement, and where I post a reminder each day to help people remember to vote. If you request to join, I can add you, and you can leave at any time (you always have control of that on Facebook). You can find the group here.
It will be interesting to see how something like this might raise awareness of the new blog as well, which will give us a chance to help other families who find themselves in similar circumstances, i.e., taking care of a severely disabled child, especially as older parents.