Last week, I learned that my friend and someone who I look up to as a mentor and bloggy role model, Liz Strauss, was in the hospital. “That can’t be fun.” I thought. So I contacted a mutual friend, Lucretia Pruitt, to see if I could get an address and room number to send flowers to Liz. Lurcretia and another very dear friend, Jenn Fowler, were literally boarding a boat for the Social Fresh cruise and they sent me a note – more than flowers Liz needed monetary assistance. Her insurance claim was denied and her bill was in the tens of thousands of dollars – and it could reach six digits before the final tally.
Mind you, Liz wasn’t in the hospital for something frivolous. She was dealing with pneumonia and kidney stones. Now I can get all political and tell you my real thoughts regarding this situation, but this is about Liz, not healthcare reform.
Like me, Lucretia and Jenn wanted to do something for Liz but they were about to get on a boat with limited Internet access. What they really wanted to do was have some sort of ChipInathon where we could rally the blogosphere. We might not be able to pay off Liz’s entire balance, but perhaps we could raise $500 to take a bite out of it. That was our goal, $500.
I told Jenn and Lucretia to leave it to me – and then I wondered if I could really pull it off. After all, I don’t have “Geek Mommy’s” reach.
I never told Liz this, but reading her blog everyday inspired me to change my thinking regarding the way I blogged at my own blog. At the first BlogWorld she told me that building a community is not about being an expert but about “coming down off my podium” and sharing with others. This is the advice I live by every day and I credit for my success as a freelance writer and owner of a blog network and community. I know others have been touched by Liz and her generous spirit and kind nature. I was sure we could surpass our goal of $500 and maybe reach $1000 by the end of the day, if I could only reach enough people.
I put Jenn and Lucretia’s plan into action with the Get Well Liz Fund.
I put up a blog post discussing Liz’s situation without invading her privacy. I registered with ChipIn and put the widget on the blog post. Then I hit Twitter.
I wondered if 5800 followers would be enough to spread the word on a Thursday morning. Yeah, that may look like a bunch of people, but would they come through? Why would people listen to me? Instead of Tweeting a couple of times and leaving it at that, I decided to call a few friends into action. I have absolutely never DM’d anyone to ask for a retweet, but I felt this to be a worthy cause. I contacted Chris Brogan, Brian Clark, Mike Stelzner, Jim Turner, Jason Falls, Patrick O’Keefe and others and they all came through. Terry Starbucker even came up with a hash tag – #getwellliz. Soon the pros were sending in their donations and helping to spread the word. Jim Kukral, Brian Solis, Chris Garrett, Mari Smith, Denise Wakeman, Glenda Watson Hyatt and so many other friends Tweeted and opened their hearts and their wallets. As of this morning, 131 bloggers came through – but I know we can do better.
We reached our $500 goal in one hour and by the time I went to bed, we were at $3,000. The next morning when I woke up, I sent $3200 to Liz – and another $450 by the time I went to bed. This morning, we’re at $4,000! It’s a big, awesome get well card.
This is why I dig blogging so much. This is why I heart Twitter. I got into social media because I dig the vibe – so many people who want to help. I often think I don’t have enough clout to make a difference, which is my mistake. It goes beyond “me” and thinking about what “I” can do. It’s about us. It’s about the power of the blogosphere. Together, we can achieve anything. Together we can make a difference.
Click here to donate to the Get Well Liz Fund.