The Bright Side of Social Media

by Ron on April 6, 2010

Greenfield, Massachusetts
Image via Wikipedia

We hear an awful lot about the dark side of social media in the press. There are stories of broken relationships, public break downs and stupid criminals caught by spying law enforcement. We hear about weak security and privacy violations and we fret. Should we even be on these services, but I’m here to tell you about a few very bright lights that exemplify why social media tools have a very positive side too. Some are personal, some professional and some stories of friendships formed. For every dark negative story you hear, remember all the positive ones too. There is a balance.

Ross Greenberg’s Story: Friends and Colleagues Rally Around One in Need

Ross Greenberg is a respected technology journalist who belongs to a professional email group of which I am a member called the Internet Press Guild. David Strom, a fellow IPG member, tells the story in this post of how our group came together to help Ross when through circumstances beyond his control, and a horrible, debilitating medical ailment, he found himself in a nursing home in Georgia, without a computer or cell phone and unable to work or communicate with the outside world. One email sent from the nursing home office lead to a fund raiser, a new computer and cell phone and great story about what happens when people rally around a friend and colleague in need.

Girl’s Night Out via Facebook

Due to a connection on Facebook, my wife met some colleagues whom she knew personally, but had never met with socially before. She and her friends were chatting on Facebook about a local restaurant and three or four people joined the conversation and before you knew it, a night out was scheduled and friendships solidified over an in-person meal.

Finding a Run-Away Teen

Not long ago a 14 year old girl from Greenfield, MA ran away from home. Reports had her in New York City with a local boy she had recently friended. The parents were understandably frantic and set up a Facebook page to help find her. Strangers came together to help find this girl. People from New Jersey who didn’t know the family contributed information and reports. Eventually the family found the girl and brought her home.

Helping Fire Victims

Earlier this year, there was a horrible set of arson fires in Northampton, MA (which I wrote about in Why Local Newspapers Still Matter). Shortly after local citizens learned of this tragic event, a Facebook page was established, fundraisers were scheduled and an organization developed to helped the victims, all built around Facebook.

We all know it’s easy to find the negative side of anything, to focus on what a service can’t do or what it does poorly, but there are countless stories just like these that show just how incredible social media can be and how it can be vehicle for building individual relationships and bringing a community together to help those in need.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Leave a Comment