Digital Neighborhood Comes to the Aid of Abused Woman

david_armano_twitter_daniela.jpg

If you ever thought for one minute social media is just another stupid new trend dreamt up by a bunch of buzzword-happy people who do nothing but "consult" and hang out on Twitter espousing bite sized chunks of wisdom in 140 characters, you seriously need to re-adjust your thinking.

Take David Armano. He lives in Chicago. He works in the advertising business. He publishes a blog. He's active on Twitter. But this isn't about him. It's about a woman named Daniela who left her husband because she was abused and how a community came to her aid.

Armano and and his family took in Daniela and made a temporary home for her and her three children. Like any good friend, he did all he could to ease Daniela's transition. And, like a good friend, he asked his own friends to help as well.

Armano reached out to his 8,000 plus Twitter followers with a pleas for help. The goal was to raise enough money for Daniella so she could afford to rent an apartment for a few months until she got back on her feet. He asked for $5,000. He, as of late last night, got $12,078.60. Truly amazing.

Now, the pessimists in the crowd might toss this off as yet another annoying plea for money. But Armano reached out to what he terms his "digital neighborhood," people he'd reach out to in a similar instance in the physical world. He did what any good friend would do. He asked for help on behalf of someone who needed it. And his request for help was met with an astounding response.

It worked because was very personal. It worked because Armano has developed deep relationships with many people online he's likely never physically meant. It's that aspect of online social life which fueled this and which fuels social media. It's never really about the technology. It's about the people. Social media (or whatever you want to call it) has simply given us new ways to connect with people and, in doing so, has provided us with new and different means to socialize and make friends.

And come to their aid when needed.

Without Twitter, this would not have happened. More correctly, it would not have happened so quickly. This is far from the first time a "fund" has been set up to help a battered woman. Physical communities and neighborhoods have always banded together when needed. But it's usually very slow moving and when it shifts into old school milk carton and telemarketing pleas, it's devoid of anything personal or meaningful. With Armano's digital neighborhood, it was personal and when things are personal, they are meaningful.

Because Armano lives is a large digital neighborhood which exists solely because other people want to actively join and be a part of his neighborhood (otherwise they wouldn't be following him on Twitter), his appeal to the neighborhood was met with familiarity, understanding, compassion and response.

It's that personal connection which allowed this effort move so swiftly. And it's social media (or whatever you want to call it) that made it possible.

by Steve Hall    Jan- 7-09   Click to Comment   
Topic: Good, Opinion, Social   

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Comments



Comments

It was a beautiful move by Armano. I was glued to my computer last night watching it unfold on Twitter.

Life has very few such George Bailey moments. Now please, AdRants, get back to snark so we can lose the damn lumps in our throats.

Posted by: Ben Kunz on January 7, 2009 2:17 PM

Finally, some positive news to start the year!

Posted by: James Hering on January 7, 2009 2:20 PM

Dammit Steve, the next time you make me misty eyed like this, I'm coming after you. ;-)

Posted by: David Armano on January 7, 2009 2:50 PM

It was amazing to watch the digital community come together so strongly and unify behind such a great cause like this. Everyone was retweeting and updating on the status of the drive, and it stretched far beyond just David's efforts, though it was surely possible in large part because he planted the seed into his carefully cultivated social garden.

Posted by: Cory O'Brien on January 7, 2009 4:37 PM

8k people on his site and 12k raised is about $1.50 a person. I can't think of a better way to spend that money and in this economy or any other, that's what I'd call a solid investment.

Posted by: Rebeca on January 7, 2009 6:48 PM

This is humanity - possible in any medium. Thank you for sharing this.

Posted by: ericjhenderson on January 8, 2009 12:10 AM

It was amazing to watch the whole thing unfold and to be part of it. I've got a post up about the power of trust and how it played into it: http://jaygoldman.com/2009/01/07/the-power-of-trust-helping-daniela/

As of right now, the total stands at $15,082.60, or 301% of the original $5k David asked for. 487 people have contributed to date, which puts the average donation at $31 (seems to be holding firm around $30 - I keep checking back in). Ignoring the few people who might have skewed it with really big donations, that's a fair amount of money to give to a family you've never met before and only know peripherally through someone you follow on Twitter. A very heartwarming start to the year indeed!

Posted by: Jay Goldman on January 8, 2009 5:18 PM

What an amazing story. And people said Twitter was stupid. It turns out that Twitter is so much more than what it first appeared to be.

From helping firefighters fight fires to raising money for worthy causes, it is a great tool for empowering people to do good.

Posted by: The Executive Marketing Blog on January 12, 2009 2:18 AM

the power of social media is beyond imagination, people can share the happiness and distress with others, can make new friends, can help others, can share the info....

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