Thursday, June 16, 2011

How Should I #TweetItForward? Your Chance to Inspire Change Through Social

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As a Likeable Media employee, I've had the opportunity to attend two conferences in the last couple of weeks: Likeable U hosted by Likeable Media (duh!) and 140 Character Conference hosted by Jeff Pulver. Each of these conferences have inspired this blog post. However, for the purposes of this post, I'm going to work backwards and talk a little bit about Day 1 of the 140 Character Conference first.

The 140 Character Conference is all about exploring the state of now. Many of the sessions so far have discussed the "real-time" features of social media and how it has affected our society today, whether the influence is on business, marketing, entertainment, or even our everyday interactions with one another. I nearly lost it when I saw that Ann Curry, News Anchor on NBC's Today Show and host of Dateline NBC, would be a speaker. I've always been interested in journalism and news media and I was excited to hear her thoughts on the evolution of journalism. What I got from her was so much better. Ann drew us a mental picture of what society was like years ago and what it is like today. When making this comparison, we realize how we've changed: while issues such as racism and homophobia still exist, we now welcome African Americans and homosexuals into our lives with open arms... look at our President for crying out loud! Change happens because it is our fundamental human wish to make our lives matter: we want the things that we do to have meaning and value. Social media is the new frontier: a new way for people to connect with and influence one another... how will we use it? Ann's advice: regardless of the medium, connect with one another and do what you can to contribute to our human family.


Next up was the session entitled, Creating Revolutions, delivered by Ja-Nae Duane, Founder of Wild Women Entrepreneurs. As Ja-Nae spoke about creating revolutions using social media, I found myself thinking about some of the figures of the past: Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King Jr., Harvey Milk... Social media didn't exist back then, but these people used the tools at their disposal to influence great change, making them true thought leaders of their time. Just as these influential people used their tools, we should use social media as one of our tools to help us leave our mark on the world and fulfill our fundamental human desire to make our lives matter.

Okay, let's rewind to June 8th when Cary Chessick, CEO of Restaurant.com, spoke at Likeable U: The Social Media Movement. During his session, Cary shared his personal story, focusing mainly on Restaurant.com and the trials and tribulations he has gone through on his way to success. He pointed out that this is something we can all identify with: we've all suffered hardships in our lives, regardless of who we are or what we do. Cary stressed the importance of remembering to thank the people in our lives who have helped us get through these hardships in any way, whether it be the man who invested in your company or the waitress who smiled at you after you've had a bad day. It is important for us to inspire change as well as give our thanks to those who have helped us to do so. This is why Cary introduced the concept of Tweet It Forward: The celebration of the gift of giving.

Cary then announced that he was going to give 40 random people in the audience $500 each as a thank you for something good that they have done in the past, regardless of what it is. I was lucky enough to be one of those people. He told us that we could do whatever we want with that money. Once we decide what to do with it, we should share the gift of giving on Twitter by announcing our decision using the hashtag #tweetitforward. Well, I've already decided that small denominations of my money are going to go to some incredible people that I want to thank for helping me the past few years (they don't know who they are yet, so I'm not telling you here). Another portion of my money is going to a group with whom I have a special connection (they don't know yet either!). However, I am a strong believer in the idea that the gift of giving can also help to inspire change. I would LOVE to give some portion of my money to a person or organization that I know could give my gift meaning and allow me to make a valuable contribution to our world. BUT, at the same time, this is a lot of pressure, so I need your help! After I hit "publish" on this blog post, I am officially committing myself to donating $150 in addition to the money I've already set aside for the people I referenced above. I encourage you all to tweet at me using the hashtag #TweetItForward and let me know who you think this money should go to and why. If Twitter's not your thing, a comment on this blog post also works. I will take one person's suggestion and donate $100 to the recipient of their choice. In addition, as a thank you for inspiring me to make a contribution that matters, I will send $50 to the person who makes the suggestion. That person can use the money in any way they would like.

You have until 11:59 EST on Sunday, June 19th to make your suggestions. I'm looking forward to reading your #tweetitforward!

2 comments:

  1. I am going to advocate for diabetes research! My dad, grandparents, college roommate, and friend all have to deal with diabetes and any step closer to a cure can help more than just the lives of the people in my life! http://www.diabeteswellness.net/

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  2. Thanks Cara, what a great cause!

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