Twitter is often lambasted as a frivolous application that is jam-packed with useless information like what I had for dinner. Just like any conversation between friends, the many overflowing micro-conversations contain both the mundane and the truly profound. The mundane is entertaining, but the profound has the capacity to change lives. Such is the story of the Frozen Pea Fund.
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We marketing types tend to be a bit myopic at times. We look at every new offering and application, dissecting its usefulness, its ability to penetrate a market or sustainability.
There’s nothing wrong with that. It’s our job. But sometimes, we get the rare opportunity to broaden our view. What a wonderful time of year to be given that opportunity.
Twitter is often lambasted as a frivolous application that is jam-packed with useless information like what I had for dinner. Toby Bloomberg recently described Twitter as a party line – and that’s exactly what it’s like.
Just like any conversation between friends, the many overflowing micro-conversations contain both the mundane and the truly profound. The mundane is entertaining, but the profound has the capacity to change lives.
Such is the story of the Frozen Pea Fund.
Relationship media blogger Susan Reynolds has been sharing her life’s musings on Twitter for a while. In early December she found a lump in her breast and was very quickly diagnosed with invasive cancer. Just like she had shared so many other things, she shared her diagnosis with her Twitter friends.
Susan, with her usual style, also decided to create a blog to share her story. One of the first tales she told was that she used a bag of frozen peas to ease the pain after her biopsy. Suddenly, in an act of support and solidarity at the suggestion of Connie Reece, people started changing their Facebook and Twitter avatars to what is now known as a pea-tavar.
Wonder about the reach of a story like this? Keep in mind, this all happened in the past week. Google has over 2,400 results for “Susan Reynolds” peas. TechCrunch, Robert Scoble and other heavy hitters helped spread the word.
Most important – Susan knew that she was most definitely not alone.
Last Friday, Susan went into surgery knowing that an entire worldwide, packed pea pod of people were there with her in spirit. But not just in spirit. The Frozen Pea Fund to benefit cancer research raised over $3,500 in less than a day. (Donations are still being taken.)
What started from a woman, out of pain and perhaps a bit of frustration, shoving a bag of frozen peas down her shirt and finding it funny enough to share with a few hundred of her closes Twitter friends has blossomed into a full out crusade of love, support and solidarity.
There are certainly some marketing lessons we can take from the Pea Brigade and we’ll get to those later this week. We can go back to dissecting social media, marketing tactics and debating the question of Twitter has any redeeming business functions.
But I have to tell you…today when I think about social media, I’m not thinking about business or clients at all. I’m thinking about a woman who had the courage to share her very personal journey and how a community of support has swelled up to surround her.
Tonight, social media humbles me with its compassion, ability to connect and the depths of human kindness it can share.