I admit, I was wrong. Last October when Facebook announced its new Groups feature, I thought it was absolutely ridiculous.
Seriously, how many more social media groups could I possibly be involved in? How was a new place where people can group chat, share documents and group photo tag going to benefit me or my community? Didn’t I already have these same functions the way I combined my use of Facebook and Twitter? Well, sort of…but not really.
When the feature became live, I played around with it. I set up a Group for my family and a separate Group for my college roomies. I could definitely see the benefit of having one common place to have private conversations and share pics. Yeah, this is pretty cool, very functional. I like it. So, I set up a few more Groups.
A few weeks later, I realized this whole Group thing wasn’t just cool…it was super duper uber cool on steroids…and then some.
I was invited to a Group called Punk Views on Social Media, where we not only talk (very bluntly) about social media trends, issues and best practices, we welcome differing views, disagreements and spit out all the bubble gum. It’s a no status-quo crew…right up my alley.
We challenge one another and grow. We are as diverse as our opinions. The chatter is addictive. Fast. Passionate. Progressive. Funny. Juvenile. It’s all kinds of awesomeness that needs to be used in moderation, which I find difficult to do.
Every day I learn so much from this group from a professional standpoint and personal. I have yet to meet any of them in person, but consider them very good friends.
I learned even more about my fellow punks last week. They have HUMONGOUS hearts. I am very emotional as I write this, as my mom is on the way to meet her doctors. Her nose bleeding, most likely from the blood thinners.
You see my mom, Leslie Lehrman, who has has Stage IV lung cancer (no she never smoked), was on her way from Phoenix to Nebraska (a quick pit stop in Denver along the way) to see her Mom, perhaps for the last time. I know that’s what my Mom was thinking. I just know it. She was bound and determined to step foot in good old Fairbury, Nebraska, where my grandma now lives in a nursing home, if it killed her. It damn near did.
Very long story short, my Mom wound up at Swedish Medical Center in Denver for nine days. A total nightmare. Swedish ER doctors found and removed a blood clot in my Mom’s chest that was located inside a stent. The blockage was causing all the swelling in her arms, neck and face. She still had a blood clot in her neck, so she was put on a Heparin drip and taking Coumadin to try to get rid of the dang clot. This took a long time.
I flew out to Denver to be with my Mom and I brought with me two very special friends – sock monkeys! These cute little guys were given to me for Mother’s Day from my daughters. I decided to bring them to Mom for comfort and strength. Who doesn’t like sock monkeys? Now, they are a permanent part of her lung cancer journey.
I also know the punks are a permanent part of it too. But a bigger part than I could have ever imagined. While they have always been extremely supportive of my politically incorrect social media campaign (inspired by my Mom) called “WTF? (Where’s the Funding) for Lung Cancer?” what the punks did next absolutely overwhelmed me.
Look at all of these sock monkeys – beautiful, colorful, lovable, so squishable sock monkeys. As I checked Facebook on my phone, I started to see a lot of sock monkey profile pictures zing by my stream. My eyes welled with tears. I saw I had a ton of new messages and had been tagged a bazillion times. Here’s just ONE example of what I saw:
OMG. Seriously? The tears REALLY overflowing now, I clicked on a notification from fellow punk Mark Story…and saw this post:
OMG. OMG. I was literally speechless…and crying even more. I showed one of my friends what was going on. She started crying too. It was just so touching (you know, in a punk way). MORE than touching…and hilarious at the same time. In true punk form, there was the innate competition to nab the best sock monkey pic possible.
I was having trouble with both my phone and my computer at the time (of course), but did manage to respond to a few of the tagged posts, chatter in the PVSM Group and send a personal message to Mark, thanking him for starting all the awesome sock monkey madness. Both my mom and I were simply amazed and couldn’t possibly thank everyone enough.
Yes Mark, you rule. That is a given. Ditto to all the punks. Double-triple ditto!
In the social media world, there is so much talk about influencers, Klout scores (vomit) and how to gain more followers and fans/likes, yada, yada, yada, yada. What it really comes down to is simply giving a crap. Caring about people and taking the time to do so. Because of relationships that have been built over the past eight months in the PVSM Group, people genuinely care about the other members. It’s hard not to.
The human connection always wins – online and offline – not algorithms, SEO or egos. Actually, let me rephrase. It’s the human/sock monkey connection that always wins. Nothing more punk than that!