Making a Difference In This World: The Power of Social Media

During my 2+ years on Twitter, I have seen a great many causes supported and lives changed, due to the power of Social Media. It’s amazing how many can truly make a difference! The earliest cause and hash tag I was introduced to was #Eric #ETA. I became part of an awesome group of people supporting a young man, Eric De La Cruz, who couldn’t get a heart transplant due to preexisting conditions and a number of scenarios roadblocked by our current Health Care System. For a synopsis read: http://www.lifewithoutpants.com/the-inconvenience-of-change/we-love-eric-the-inconvenience-of-change/. 

A burst of tweets, fund-raising, non-stop efforts of his sister Veronica De La Cruz made a real difference. Regardless of your stance on health care reform, you must admire and support the efforts of these brave people instrumental in keeping #Erics story alive before and after his death on July 4, 2009 and their brave fight for change! For an update read: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/veronica-de-la-cruz/health-care-year_b_839542.html .

Today, the influence of caring hearts on Twitter never sleeps and the power to bring change in people’s lives and in our world is tremendous. #PrayerforJapan #CareforJapan —  the mobilization of thousands upon thousands of people on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and more — are raising money and awareness for the people of Japan! The vastness of support is beyond comprehension and the people on social media are bringing healing to an entire country! For more details on the vast world wide efforts of social media for Japan, please read: http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/7868184/social_media_summoning_aid_for_disaster.html?cat=15.
What can be accomplished is enormous, it starts with just one person, just one tweet, one blog, one mention, one update. An avalanche of support later the world is changed. You can make a difference in this world thanks to Twitter, and all of the people involved in the many sites of Social Media!

#UsBlogs #UsGuys blog challenge for March 26th: “Social Media for Social Good”.

 

Happy 96th Uncle Rog!

My husband’s Uncle Rog who I call my Uncle too,  because we are very close and I say he is my uncle!  We share a passion for life, knowledge, computers, photography, people, family — and admiration and love for each other! Love between relatives and friends for the 32 years I have been in the family and married to his prize nephew. Years that have grown ever closer in the passing of time: his Birthday on St. Patrick’s Day, celebrated on the closest weekend to the day! This year it was on Sunday, March 20th and all of us ventured to Southern Minnesota to Southern Minnesota for his annual party.

Fall days spent in the water, trying to swamp a pontoon boat equipped with his inventions and being unable to do so no matter how many of us leaned over the rail! I had perfect faith in him too. I remember I was wearing my new spring coat, my new glasses and carrying my latest, beloved phone!

The admiration part is just as tangible. I admire Uncle Rog for all the things he has accomplished in his life and all he still plans to do! I hope I have plans at his age and yet when you talk with him, you are constantly struck with the excitement in living in his manner, his speech, the animation in his voice, the power packed knowledge of his amazing mind. He is an inventor first and foremost and is having the prototype for a boat built that will hopefully revolutionize the way the Coast Guard deals with rescues. He admires me for ordinary things that come second nature to me: my blogging, my love of all things social media. The pictures I take with my camera and even phone that look so lifelike. He still can’t get over a camera in a phone!

Here we are squeezing my husband, Mike…Rog’s nephew into the picture! 🙂

After the party we were back at his house and he explained his patent again and the properties of his leisure boats, dreams for rescue boats — and the concrete plans he has for making the waterways safer for everyone. They are the plans and dreams of a much younger man you think, but then you see the intelligence in his eyes and know that there’s a reason this all has taken so many years to develop. Rog has been thinking, advocating, coaching and coaxing them along. Making something out of nothing, the inventor’s gift, his purpose in life, his legacy.

 

Social Media Event IRL, Week Without #SXSW

This week has been super busy. And exceptionally busy for many people on Twitter too! So many of them went to Austin, Texas for a HUGE Social Media Event: SXSW (South by Southwest) Interactive — featuring five days (March 11-15) of presentations by the biggest names in social media, the SXSW Trade Show and programs showcasing the latest technology and the most innovative ideas imaginable. So why didn’t I go? Well….first of all I don’t think I’m quite ready. I would learn a lot, but more importantly I would be overwhelmed. Give me another year absorbing information, learning on Twitter and in the #UsGuys Social Media, Customer Service, Marketing, Innovative Ideas Galore Twitter Stream and perhaps I’ll be ready for an event like this.

Also, as I began to say, I had quite a lot going on IRL (In Real Life)! Last week my mom had a stroke. First it was a stroke, then no, then yes. It was very confusing. Let’s just say that she went from being able to walk and talk to hardly speaking and living in a wheelchair. Every time I was her she seemed worse and phone calls were out. But, I saw her today, March 12th and she is much better! So perhaps it was a medication reaction of some type complicating her already difficult condition: Alzheimers. She and I are so close, I was devastated to think our chats were suddenly over. I am preparing myself for the gradual loss of them that will come with her disease, but poof they’re gone? That would be really tough. So I am very grateful.

Earlier this week I had the privilege, rather than flying to Austin, of picking up my Uncle Rog from the V.A. hospital in Minneapolis after a follow-up appointment to surgery and driving him to his home in Southern, Minnesota. Now I say privilege because Rog will be 96 on St. Patrick’s day and I say any time I spend with him is pure poetry and a real blessing. Especially since he survived a terrible leg break and two surgeries this past fall and winter! Rog and I had what I’m calling a Social Media Event IRL…Everyone in Austin that I know is learning a lot and having a blast. Well that’s what I did my two days with Rog and beginning later that evening with his daughter Sharon. The following day about 5:00 p.m. Sharon’s twin sister Sandy showed up to complete the picture and put the Fantastic in Blast!

First of all, Rog is not just an amazing 96 yr. old who just survived 2 surgeries! He is an inventor. He holds the patent on an invention that will revolutionize the leisure boat industry by making them very hard to sink. I know this for a fact because I was in on the testing of his invention on a lake near his hometown a few years back. We tried all day, about 8 to 10 of us to sink a small pontoon boat and couldn’t. Now our family knows how to have fun! I say our family and Rog is my Uncle, he actually belongs to my husband, Mike, but I’ve made him my own. We’re related by marriage and that’s good enough for me. He and I get along well like two kids at a Birthday Party! We joke and laugh and have a wonderful time. We talk computers because he loves his and now that he’s recovered he sits in front of it all day. I showed him Twitter and he tried to wrap his inquisitive and intelligent mind around it but too many generations seemed to be between us, I had trouble getting through on that. Life, however, he has mastered. He and his wife sang to their children to wake them up every day, “Good Morning to you, Good Morning to you…” A delightful song about greeting each new sunshiney day with a smile. I enjoyed a precious sight when Sharon sang it to him to gently help him wake up from an afternoon rest. He loves his family, wants to leave a legacy with his invention and certainly will. He respects me, though he doesn’t understand for my knowledge of blogging and Twitter. He’s mastered so much IRL. I could learn so much from him if we had lots of time together. I’m going to take all I can in the ensuing months or years he is with us. He’s moving to Silver Bay (WAY NORTHERN!) Minnesota to live in assisted living and I will gladly drive with my husband or without to visit him. Sharon lives about one half hour south of there. I love to spend time with her too!
Thanks for listening to my Social Media Event IRL…we had so much fun — eating good food, drinking sodas and iced tea because Rog can’t have his beer yet — hoping to have one on his birthday! Watching movies together. Taking turns at the computer and listening to each others hopes and dreams. I hope all of you in Austin learned as much and had as great a time! I know you did. Maybe next year! #UsGuys #UsBlogs entry

Losing Myself: That is My Greatest Fear

This blog is a response to the #UsGuys #UsBlogs topic: “What is your greatest fear?” This picture was taken by Mark Chatwin from Australia, my internet friend of many years: @MarkChatwin on Twitter.

Losing me, losing control, that is my greatest fear. It is having the circumstances of my life, my illness, bipolar disorder, spin so fast that I am left behind at the bottom of the gorge, while the sunshine peaks down at me, but shows me no way of getting back up from where I’ve fallen. No one likes to lose control, but even more for someone who has their sanity to lose. If we lose control we are liable to end up in a strange place with other people in charge of our every decision — with all freedom lost and no hope of recovering it except for by getting well — some nebulous goal we can neither grasp nor imagine at the moment. So, we hang on very tight and hope to grab at some twig or branch to keep us from falling farther into the dark hole we are in. Not knowing that such effort, piled on top of our illness, can only make us worse. What we need to do is let go of the edge, free fall into the darkness, and trust that we will land in a safe place. I did this. I let go of the edge of the precipice and let myself fall. I had been fighting hard for wellness for weeks, which had turned into months. I was very ill when first diagnosed and giving the doctor’s a tremendous challenge. One day while lying in bed, I heard the still small voice within me say, “Let go, I have you.” I was frightened, but the feeling or inner voice was persistent. Finally I did, mentally, I let go. I felt myself falling for what seemed like forever. I was terrified as I fell, afraid of the feeling of having no control. Then I landed. All around me was the deepest, warmest, strongest sense of love I have ever felt before or since. Suddenly I knew that I had a Friend much bigger that myself, the Lord who surrounded me always with His awesome love and I never had to fear losing myself or being out of control again. He had me safe. He was in control and I could relax in that certain knowledge. From that day I began to improve and thankfully, have never been that ill again.

Do I still fear? Yes? Of being out of control? Sometimes. Of being alone, losing myself, disappearing into some crevasse of this frightening illness? Never. For I know the One who created me. Who allowed this illness into my life. I know that He has gone before me and walks beside me, has my back, and no matter how far I may fall…He is not just the sunshine at the top of the abyss, He is the warmest love of all at the bottom.