What Social Media Does For People That You Probably Didn’t Know

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While training in Colorado for an upcoming race, championship cyclist, Brian Grenier, sped down a steep mountain at 39 mph when he and large black bear collided. The unexpected meet-up sent Brian twenty feet in the air, resulting in, among other things, a traumatic brain injury (TBI.) I met Brian on Twitter a few years ago…then met him in person, after we discovered that we live about ten minutes apart. During our conversation, he explained his short term memory issues and shared how much social media helps him. “I can track my conversations so I don’t get as frustrated trying to remember who people are or what we’ve exchanged,” said Grenier. We talked about how social media is actually better than phone calls or emails, as there’s often profile information attached to connections.Social media as a rehab tool…who knew!

Like Brian, I’ve met other locals that I didn’t think I’d ever run into if not for Twitter. That’s not so unusual, but, a couple of years ago, I came across a guy several counties away whose post about my little beach town caught my attention.  After a few swapped tweets, I found out that his father was a neighbor who lived alone just two doors down from me. Our cursory tweets faded with a sort of “what a small world” comment. Then, one day, this white-haired gent showed up at my door displaying a confusion that I could only assume was associated with some level of dementia. It was that guy’s father, and I felt compelled to let him know about the episode. The only means of communicating with the son about his father’s growing dementia was through Twitter…and suddenly the “small world” Twitter connection took on a very big significance.

Sometimes I think social media is like some kind of “Alice-in-Wonderland” portal that allows you to move into another world…sometimes, other people’s worlds. This happened one day when I received a direct message on Twitter from a young gal who asked for my help. During a holiday at the beach, her husband was caught up in a rip current and almost drowned. Two Marines on the beach jumped into action, pulling her husband to the shore and performing CPR until the ambulance arrived. In the frenzy of the day, the Marines (as Marines do) left quietly without needing any spotlight on their rescue. My Twitter follower request: “Can you help me find the two Marines who saved my husband’s life? I never got to thank them.” It took a few calls, but the Joint Public Affairs Office aboard the nearest Marine Corps base helped to pull it off. The emotional “thank you” reunion resulted in a story shared in the base newspaper.

I know a lot of people who use social media for business development and marketing, but, what I find interesting is how many companies and work streams exist only as a direct result of social media. My Professional Networking Agency is one such business. Social media makes it possible for me to develop relationships and make business introductions for clients around the world in mere minutes.

I ran into a food blogger recently that I met on Twitter and then in person about a year ago. During a catch up chat on her professional endeavors, she mentioned how she wouldn’t have the nice writing gig she has with our state’s most prestigious travel magazine if not for a connection she made on Twitter. Within an hour after our chat, I had sent an email to a former White House chef who owns a B & B in NC to start the process toward introduction for her. It was just the right thing to do. So was creating an introduction between an African Nun working on confidence building with girls who had been held as sex slaves and the Global Ambassador for Dove’s Self Esteem Fund…on Twitter.

Just sitting on my couch last week, I read a story featuring a documentary about a high school that uses an incubator approach to help students become more innovative. I found the executive producer on Linkedin and Twitter and introduced him to an education leader with a large following. Also, the right thing to do.

In 2010, thanks to a Twitter contact who introduced me to the right people, I ended up putting together a live event at a vendor booth at E3 in LA (world’s premier games industry expo). As part of the event, I reached out to a favorite charity, Kids Are Heroes, whose founder/CEO I met on Twitter about a year earlier. I accessed one of their kid heroes, Ricky Springer, who, at 8 years old, founded Racing for a Cause. The organization creates awareness for Eosinophilic Diseases. We worked out a deal for Ricky to attend E3 with his mother, demo the inflatable gaming race car for my vendor client, get some exposure for his charity and Kids Are Heroes, as well as receive a donation from the client. Ricky, with his huge personality, was a major hit at the event. I call this kind this of connecting Greater Good Networking…when possibilities arise that are fat with potential for securing “big” results. It’s something I highly recommend doing.

Obviously, my own experiences on social media have proven the value, but, I was reading a gamesindustry.biz article recently where start-up founders were frustrating over not having enough time to deal with social media. In fact the last line of the article read “I really wonder who the hell has time to do that.”  Here’s my response: within exactly one minute after posting this, I will have introduced the inventor of a wearable tech gadget that helps musicians (read an article about it on social media) called Soundbrenner to one of Hollywood’s most sought after lead orchestrators who could review and hopefully endorse the product.  And, I’ll do it on Twitter…because it’s just too darn easy.

Opportunity doesn’t just knock anymore…it tweets!

Mary Kurek owns a professional networking agency with a focus on making business introductions and developing relationships on a client’s behalf. The agency specialty is games and entertainment.  Connect with Mary on Twitter:@gamemarketing  www.marykurek.com