Colossal compassion: A stunning case study in community.
|By armano, Twitter, help on Jan. 7, 2009||Tweet|
As I assembled the recent list of "10 ways social media improved lives in 2008," I was truly struck by the potential to accomplish great things in a short time.
But last night, even my greatest expectations were surpassed by one incredible event.
Early in the evening, social media guru David Armano posted a humble plea for help. He asked his readers and friends to help raise $5,000 for an abused woman and her family who have been living temporarily with the Armanos:
My wife and I were happy to make a modest contribution to his effort, which used a simple method of collecting donations through PayPal. At the time, the total was listed at $0, though I assumed there was just a delay in posting the first donations.
An hour or two later, I checked in again. Armano's fund-raiser was at 139% of its goal! As I write this post, the total is $11,522 — 230% of his target $5,000. Here's the most recent total (might not be visible if you're reading this in RSS or e-mail):
This staggering and heart-warming event has quickly become the buzz of Twitter and social media bloggers, for obvious reasons.
So how did such a miraculous burst of philanthropy happen? A few thoughts:
1. Rarity: Armano is not in the habit of asking for donations from his 8,000-plus followers on Twitter, not to mention his many blog readers. In fact, he's often considered one of the most selfless and humble superstars of social media. So when he asked, people listened.
2. Specificity: This was not a call to help a faceless organization. It was an effort to improve the lives and hopes of one specific family. Looking at their faces and hearing their story, you couldn't help but be moved to help.
3. Urgency: As we saw with the fantastically fast response when a blogger needed a kidney donor to save her daughter, a true sense of urgency can move mountains in moments.
4. Flexibility: While most of Armano's contacts used the simple ChipIn tool to donate cash, he offered a wide range of ways for people to help.
1. Giving whatever you can ("Chip in" uses Pay Pal and it's very easy to donate and it's secure)
2. Spread the word. Please, please blog this, tweet this, re-tweet this.
3. Help find a donor (maybe a generous company or individual)"
5. Appreciation: As soon as the donations began to pour in, Armano was effusive in his thanks to those who took part. He posted an awestruck video, shared the touching picture I've included above of Daniela watching the results roll in, and did his best to respond on Twitter to the many, many people helping out.
Today, Armano wrote his own thoughts on the unbelievable achievement he had just witnessed. I don't think I could summarize it any better: