Don't Underestimate the Power of Twitter

by francine Hardaway on May 29, 2009

This is a sad story, but it is also a story of communities and resiliency.

Earlier this week, I got a call in Half Moon Bay from my friend LonSafko, author of The Social Media Bible. It was a voicemail that said “Please call me back. I can’t leave a message.”

Last year, at almost exactly the same time, i got a call from a friend in Phoenix, and it was about the suicide of my friend Scott Coles, so I was alerted. I called him back immediately.

Sure enough, our mutual friend Steven Groves, a member of my OTEF board, had learned that morning that his son, Steven Groves II, had died  of an overdose. Steve doesn’t even know yet what the coroner will find, but he has lost his oldest child.

As if that isn’t enough, Steve had been out of paid work since December, when his last campany ran out of cash. He had been working with Lon to promote The Social Media Bible, but was doing that on a sweat equity basis.

So when the need to bury his son came up, it was one more big stressor on top of his grief.

Lon asked me what to do. “I’m a guy,” he said, simply, meaning “I am at a loss in a situation like this.”

“Go over there,” I said. “You are in town and I am not.” He also called Joan Koerber Walker, the chairman of the OTEF board and another good friend of ours. Joan’s a woman, so she raced over to Steve’s house.

I couldn’t get there, so I started a Chipin page and put it out on FriendFeed and Twitter. I told people to send money through Paypal to .

As of today, between our local friends and Chipin, we have almost $2000 of the $2500 Stevee needs to bury his oldest son. I’m sure that this doesn’t take away his loss, but it helps relieve one burden and allows him to  grieve.

Our country is in a bad place, and there are conflicting theories about how to come out of it. But that doesn’t mean that individuals, acting together, can’t help each other and exhibit the enormous resiliency that makes societies survive.

We see it publicly in events like Katrina, and how volunteers are still rebuilding houses in New Orleans. Privately, I have seen it this week from my Twitter community. Twitter communities, as people like @kanter and @lizstrauss can also tell you, have an extraordinary resilience and therefore the power to move mountains.

R.I. P. Steven Groves II. And my friend Steve, go forward knowing that you are in the embrace of all of us, even people who may never had met you.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

stevengrovesaz May 29, 2009 at 1:04 pm

The community I work with, play with and deal with online has been nothing less than amazing as I’ve had to contend with the large and small challenges of losing a child.

The support of Francine, Joan, Lon and everyone who has contributed is very much appreciated.

My blessing in this is knowing I was able to say “I love you son”, as my last words – I ask everyone to try and make this a steady and regular practice with the ones you love in your life – you never know when your goodbye may be the last you get with them.

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: