June 2, 1875…the day that the telephone worked for the first time. It changed the way the world communicated forever. Now we’ve got another change…and it’s happening as you read this. You can read about the past of the telephone HERE but what I’m interested in is the present, and how social media is connecting people to people with astounding speed and specitivity. The Red Cross has raised over $21,000,000 through $10 text messages with the word “Haiti” to 90999. Those five letters and five numbers have raised almost 20% of the total support for this tragedy in Haiti.
I remember hearing that in Asia people text messaged more than they talked on their phones. That was about five years ago. I laughed at them and now I’m laughing at myself. The technology that we are using is connecting us to people that we otherwise would have ignored or simply felt sympathy for and then moved on with our lives. Social media is first and foremost about being SOCIAL. Just like high school or your office, there are those who are surface people…never going deep in their social interactions. The same is true on Twitter. But social media sites like Twitter and Facebook allow us to connect with people in ways we never could before. Time wasters? Sometimes. Juvenile? Perhaps. But $21,000,000 through text messaging that was largely advertised not by the media until after the millions had started rolling in…is proof that social media works.
If you own a business and want to connect with customers, or you’re running for office and need voters, or you want to connect with your long lost friends, then social media is the place to focus your efforts. It’s where the conversation is happening so you need to get in the middle of it. The office water cooler has been replaced by 140 characters and millions of people who care about the suffering in Haiti. I’ll trade a lousy cup of water for a movement of millions of humans with big hearts and cell phones any day.