i got so rankled during all the uprisings in the middle east over the last few months when people said, oh, all this happened because of social media! see! it IS important! i found it to be, really, the height of first-world arrogance, pretending that the things we as privileged and connected westerners were doing on the internet had anything at all to do with the complex, generations-old rebellions in these countries. there is just no way that freaking twitter had anything significant to do with it. it's not that important. hell, half the things i read on twitter in a day have to do with either charlie sheen, chad ochocinco or cats in unusual situations.
but then today happened. today, i found out that my parents' next-door neighbor emily, one of the sweetest people in the world, has disappeared. horrifying news: she's a young mother, with an 18-month-old baby, and (worse yet) a history of psychological issues. she left for work monday morning and hasn't been seen or heard from since. scary enough. so my stepmom and a few other people started a facebook group. as people started to talk to each other there, we all started spreading the word to people we knew.
enter the DC social media world. DC is a very internet-friendly town, and our social media community is peerless. i've been to a couple of twitter-centric events, especially right after i moved back here and needed some new friends. one of the people i met during all of this is the incomparable proprietress of the southified masshole, who i think might know every single person in the metro area. i reached out to her and the rest of the people i work with over at dcblogs for a little publicity help. and with that, we were off to the races. within three hours, several major DC news sources were on the story. for every question someone had, someone else had an answer. in a situation when getting emily's face all over the universe as quickly as possible was the A-1 most important thing, everyone came through in the best way possible.
now this is what twitter, and all that other social media, can really do for us. it's so incredible how well that worked out. thank you all so very, very much for getting the word out the best way you knew how. it's amazing to see that in action. as civilians, we can't really do all that much besides publicize. the DC social media world, rock stars that they all are, did an incredibly inspiring, fantastic job. it's an honor to be a part of such a great fabric of people.
and if you're local, and you've seen emily, please call 202-680-4181. thank you.
Letter 70: Be Louder
4 weeks ago