Digital Neighborhood Comes to the Aid of Abused Woman
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.