AU MA Social Media

A class blog about social media.

Social Media helped in a time of need.

Posted by chadlymc on June 4, 2011

My grandfather passed away almost three weeks ago now. It was a hard day for my family. We knew it was coming, but it did happen fast and he was in no pain, so that was good. I was there with my parents and aunts and uncles and grandmother when it happened. I knew we had to get the word out to family and friends and we had to call the funeral home and our pastor and the church so they could set up the funeral dinner, etc.

I started to go through my cell phone contact list to find the numbers of as many of my cousins (there are 14 of them on that side of the family) that I could find so that I could text them all the news and tell them the family rallying point, etc. Suddenly it occurred to me, why text it? I mean texting that news to 14 people is a lot of work. You have to find all of them in your contact list and add each name to the text and then add the numbers of those you don’t have that you found in other people’s phones and then you type the message and your phone goes into lock down mode because it’s sending so many messages at once and it drains your battery to the point of needing to put the phone on life support just to stay on the main screen.

So I did the next best thing. I Facebooked the news to my cousins and my facebook contacts. More of my cousins were my friends on Facebook than I had cell phone numbers for, plus if I Facebooked the news, my pastor and my church would learn the details and be able to prepare as well. I felt like a genius. I’ll just Facebook it. And then I thought, what the heck, why not tweet it too? So I did.

The response on Facebook to the news was incredible. My cousins all received the message and everything worked out just fine. Plus, having facebooked the news, all of my friends knew and they were sending condolence messages and offering to help and it was great. I recruited some of my friends to be at the house while my family was at the funeral home and they warmed the food, and prepared everything for us.

It was fabulous. All of the coordination with the younger members of the family and a few of my friends was done via Facebook. Most of it by private messages and chat, but some even on my main Facebook page.

That’s the power of social media. The ability to coordinate and rally people together for a cause and to bring people together to share in grief. I suppose a savvier person would have created a Facebook event or group page and used it for coordination, but hey, I did it all through messages and wall postings and it worked.

So yeah, my new way of spreading the news and coordinating events-Facebook people, Facebook. It’s just SO useful!

I can’t wait to start coordinating volunteers for political campaigns and hosting events on Facebook or YouTube or Skype or even using Twitter posts to rally people. It’s a whole new world out there.

So that being said, will social media come to replace greeting cards? Will it be end the need for phone and email trees when a meeting or event is moved or canceled? Will social media become the new place to hang on Saturday nights? Think about it.



One Response to “Social Media helped in a time of need.”

  1. Chad, we were very sorry to hear about your grandfather’s passing. Good for you though to keep your mind and use social media in a smart way to spread the word. Your questions are interesting. As social media has boomed, I’ve seen break-ups, divorces, miscarriages, deaths and all kinds of family tragedy unfold on Facebook especially. But what’s interesting, while some people still keep their life an open book (i.e., they have no problem posting a message like, “I’m divorcing my wife today!” or similar), there are just as many people who lock down their wall and don’t allow the news to be spread. I pretty much fall into the latter category, but overall, yes, social media is replacing things like phone trees. Maybe not replacing, but at least supplementing to help share news.

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