If you’ve been following the news at all, then you know about the flooding in a little town by the name of Caddo Gap, Arkansas. Before this weekend, it was never a town that was on the news, and it wasn’t exactly listed on any of the local maps. Before Friday, this part of Arkansas has never gotten a bit of national news coverage, and suddenly, it’s a town inundated with CNN, MSNBC, and FOX News. While for many of you, it’s just a sad news story that you see, but for me, it smacks me right in the heart, because that’s home.
Through all the sadness I can’t help but find an interesting study in community here. We talk about social media and how it’s a community, how we are all connected and how we help out when we need to, no matter what the cost. Twitter campaigns have been successful in events like the Nashville flood and the earthquakes in Haiti, and through communication, we have created sub-communities that stretch across oceans. What I’ve come to realize this weekend, is we treat Twitter like a small town community, not a large social network.
I truly believe that each of us, even if we can’t send money, we can send thoughts – we watch a news program and a story can touch us in a way that we didn’t expect. What you heard all weekend were rescue/recovery attempts and survivor stories – but what you didn’t hear about was how a small community pulled together to help out total strangers. I know this because I know people that were involved in the rescue as well as some who were affected personally by the tragedy. In a small community, the ties run deep.
Think about someone you might talk to a lot on Twitter, even if just about mundane things. Recently, a woman in my friend’s list daughter went missing, and though I didn’t know her, I found myself retweeting her “Missing” posters and joining the Facebook page for her daughter. Could I help? Probably not, but may someone who reads my Twitter would see it, and forward it to someone who could. It’s the small community idea – one person picks something up and runs with it and soon, everyone is pitching in. That is how Twitter is like a small community – we help strangers like we would family.
How do you treat Twitter like a small community? Do you reach out when someone needs help?