The Power of Facebook Groups, Punks & Sock Monkeys

What's Up With This Dude? You'll See!

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.

Me & Mom at Denver Swedish Medical Center

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.

Mom & Her New Sock Monkeys: Hope & NED

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.

PVSM Sock Money Avatars

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:

Punk Allen Mireles's Post

OMG. Seriously? The tears REALLY overflowing now, I clicked on a notification from fellow punk Mark Story…and saw this post:

Mark Story's Sock Monkey Support Campaign 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.

Portion of PVSM Group Thread

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.

Mark's Post of My Thank You

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!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


  • Anonymous

    Aw, Jen. What a wonderful post. You know we love you and your Mom. Signed, the punkmonkeys.

    • http://www.wtflungcancer.com/ Jennifer Windrum

      Allen, you are priceless. The entire group is priceless. I always know I can count on you to be there. Always. 

  • http://spinsucks.com Gini Dietrich

    This made me cry and I’ve been through this with you. A big hug to you and your mom!

    • http://www.wtflungcancer.com/ Jennifer Windrum

      Yes, you have been there and I’m glad I could pass the tears along to you.  Ha!  Thanks again Gini.

  • Mark Story

    Jennifer,

    I am so honored to be part of this post.  Like Heidi, I am crying.

    Mark

    • http://www.wtflungcancer.com/ Jennifer Windrum

      Mark….you are so amazing, seriously. Like I told your wife, she is so lucky to have someone with such a huge heart…and willing to share it with so many others. Can’t thank you enough. Hugs. 

  • Mark Story

    Jennifer,

    I am so honored to be part of this post.  Like Heidi, I am crying.

    Mark

  • http://twitter.com/mickeygomez Mickey Gomez

    I’m just sad that I’d switched my avatar back before the screen shot. Because clearly I had the best sock monkey avatar. Not that I’m competitive or anything. 

    And seriously, Jennifer, so happy that it helped you and your mom, because THAT’s what it was all about. There’s not a lot that we can do, but we can let you know we’re thinking of you and wishing you well.  Hugs, you!

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=536345895 Stacey Hood

      Mine was better, Mickey. #justsaying

      • http://twitter.com/laniar Lani Rosales

        mine was betterer. #justcopying ;)

        • Anonymous

          Mine was best #justFTWing

          • http://nonprofitconnection.wordpress.com/ Heidi Massey

            Dream on all of you. Not even close. Mine will soon be receiving a Miss America type thing to wear that says it is superior to all sock monkeys ever created.

    • http://www.wtflungcancer.com/ Jennifer Windrum

      Mickey…..the avatars were just one way each of you showed support. I want everyone in PVSM to know how grateful I am for the amazing love and support each has given me….sock monkey or not. Thanks a million.

  • Anniejmac

    Jen you just have the most awesome friends!!! YAY Punks!!!

    • http://www.wtflungcancer.com/ Jennifer Windrum

      I know Annie….and YOU are one of them. I am so, so blessed. You know how much my Mom and I love you. <3

  • http://freetraffictip.com Tinu

    I never actually had a sock monkey up. Not only had I previously promised my avatar to another charity, I didn’t check the group in time to see the wonderful gift my peers were giving you. The Punks are a fantastic group though – can’t believe you outed us! lol. …

    Seriously though, there’s so much supportive interaction and brain trust going on in there that it’s overwhelming sometimes. Thanks for including me in your post even though I didn’t participate. Because I was definitely with you in spirit!

  • http://freetraffictip.com Tinu

    I never actually had a sock monkey up. Not only had I previously promised my avatar to another charity, I didn’t check the group in time to see the wonderful gift my peers were giving you. The Punks are a fantastic group though – can’t believe you outed us! lol. …

    Seriously though, there’s so much supportive interaction and brain trust going on in there that it’s overwhelming sometimes. Thanks for including me in your post even though I didn’t participate. Because I was definitely with you in spirit!

    • http://www.wtflungcancer.com/ Jennifer Windrum

      Hey Tinu…..it makes no difference to me whether you had a sock monkey avatar or not. You have been so supportive of me, my cause and my Mom from day one…and continuously. The sock monkey campaign was just one way I could illustrate the power of our community.  You totally participated, lady. You always have. Hugs. 

      • http://freetraffictip.com Tinu

        I know. The sock monkey thing was so awesome though, and still is. I don’t care what anyone else thinks, but I definitely wanted to make sure YOU know. And you do. So that’s all I care about. :)  

  • http://twitter.com/laniar Lani Rosales

    So beautifully said, Jennifer. Glad to get the chance to know you and connect in a meaningful way! XOXOXO

    • http://www.wtflungcancer.com/ Jennifer Windrum

      So glad to connect with you too, Lani. Thank you a million times over. Hugs.

  • Matt

    Jennifer – Saw this on FB via Lani Rosales and thought it was great. A friend of mine from the real estate industry just went through hell and back with testicular cancer and as we learned the news a FB group was formed. It has been an incredible journey for him, his family, and friends (both online and off). The group is still chugging along with people stopping in to encourage him, help his family, and even just throw around a few jokes here and there. The group even rallied support for him to meet Lance Armstrong which resulted in Lance shooting a video for him. I too thought groups was just another thing to add to my list, but found some real purpose in it. If you have time, say hello to Clint Miller (@TheRealClint) – I think you two would love to share your stories.

  • Matt

    Jennifer – Saw this on FB via Lani Rosales and thought it was great. A friend of mine from the real estate industry just went through hell and back with testicular cancer and as we learned the news a FB group was formed. It has been an incredible journey for him, his family, and friends (both online and off). The group is still chugging along with people stopping in to encourage him, help his family, and even just throw around a few jokes here and there. The group even rallied support for him to meet Lance Armstrong which resulted in Lance shooting a video for him. I too thought groups was just another thing to add to my list, but found some real purpose in it. If you have time, say hello to Clint Miller (@TheRealClint) – I think you two would love to share your stories.

    • http://www.wtflungcancer.com/ Jennifer Windrum

      Hi Matt. Thanks so much for the message. I just now followed Clint and am looking forward to chatting with him.  So great he has a FB group too. Obviously, I know the true power of them now. So glad you posted here. Thanks again Matt.

  • Anonymous

    Jennifer,
    This is what blogging should be. PVSM has come a long way, hasn’t it? Its gone from ragging on social media gurus to sharing stories about our lives; our families. Every time I see your face in my stream, I think about what you’re going through with your mother. My (our) best wishes go out to you and your family as you take this journey. Thanks for sharing your story (and for making me feel like a heel for not having a sock monkey for my profile pic!). Hugs :)

    • http://www.wtflungcancer.com/ Jennifer Windrum

      Yes, it definitely has transformed in a good way. I can’t tell you how much your support …and Buddy’s (seriously) has helped. And, NO feeling bad for not changing your avatar…that’s not the point…just one example of how this group has rallied. The support has been there from day one and continuous. Hugs back.

  • http://nonprofitconnection.wordpress.com/ Heidi Massey

    So Jennifer, you know how I feel about you and our group and lung cancer and all that stuff. But I think folks miss the point a bit. It isn’t about this one incident. Whether or not Tinu had a sock monkey avatar or not or Mickey switched hers back too quickly (mine is the best actually) is not the point. This is about community. It is about being there for each other. It is about ceasing to think about ourselves as individuals long enough to come together and think about someone else. We have all played important roles in someone’s life in that group (and outside the group in the rest of our lives) That is what matters. Your post is just one example of what can happen when people come together to create a vibrant, caring, giving community. Ultimately, to me, it is all that really matters. Thanks for illustrating it so beautifully.

    • http://www.wtflungcancer.com/ Jennifer Windrum

      Yes, Heidi what you said is so true. Completely about community! I think I failed in my post to say that changed avatars or not, everyone there has been so supportive from day one. It’s been consistent. This was a great example of how the entire group went even further. Incredible.

    • http://freetraffictip.com Tinu

      You’re right, and I know folks miss the point.

       But I’m not as concerned with that as I am with 1-  Jennifer knowing that sock monkey  or not, I’m with her all the way, and 2- the credit for what our community did going to the people who participated too. To take the time to actually do something, it deserves a lot of love. I’m grateful to be any part of that. 

  • http://twitter.com/kamichat Kami Huyse

    I think the social media tools are what you make of them. When people connect at a real level it puts us at our best. Now, think that the photo of all of the sock monkey’s together might be a good avatar, too.

    • http://www.wtflungcancer.com/ Jennifer Windrum

      So true Kami…and I have already made the sock monkey collage my desktop pic…and have more plans for it. It’s just so powerful and filled with luv. Hugs Kami. 

  • http://www.wtflungcancer.com/ Jennifer Windrum

    Hey punks….Can’t thank you enough. I want EVERYONE in the group to know how much I appreciate your support – sock monkey avatar change or not. No one should be badly if they didn’t change their avatar…..my post was a huge thank you to everyone who has been so incredibly supportive and caring  on a continuous basis. The sock monkey campaign was just one great way to illustrate that luv. You ALL participated. You always do. For that, I am so grateful and know how very blessed I am.

  • http://dannybrown.me Danny Brown

    This. Is. Awesome.

    Such a true statement, Jennifer – you can talk ROI, trends, Kout, blah-de-blah, all day long. But the human spirit and support of your friends is where it’s at.

    PVSM and sock monkeys rule. :)

    • http://www.wtflungcancer.com/ Jennifer Windrum

      You are awesome Danny. Majorly. #thatisall

  • Dsrtptrl

    OMG…..This is way beyond overwhelming!!  I may not personally know all of you punkmonkies out there, but I know that you all have caring hearts and I love each and every one of you.  I only know that you keep Jen and me going throughout all this.  Love and hugs to all of you!!

    Leslie

  • Jen Zingsheim

    Lovely post. I’m just seeing this now–I’m not surprised at all at what Mark did. I’m a pretty big fan of his.

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