Social Media Column: Flood of retweets helps homeless

Published in the July 17, 2012 issue of The Edmonton Sun.

Linda’s social media column can be found every Tuesday in the Edmonton Sun.

Flood of retweets helps homeless

Last week was hot. You were melting. I was certainly melting. Air conditioners were flying off store shelves.

The heat was a hot topic on social media and one particular Twitter post that caught my eye was from the Hope Mission.

“We’re looking for donations of BOTTLED WATER to help keep the homeless hydrated. [Please retweet endlessly] #yeg #yegdt.”

That tweet didn’t just catch my eye though; it caught the eye of more than 400 people. The message was retweeted more than 100 times in just one hour, and retweeted by more than 400 people throughout the span of the week.

A retweet is when Twitter users share someone else’s post to their own followers. In theory, it gets a message out to more people with just a click of a button.

Hope Mission’s message spread fast online but it’s pretty easy to hit a button and share a message. That doesn’t mean any action or results will come of the shared message. Lucky for Hope Mission, Edmonton’s online community is all about showing support both online and offline.

Devin Komarniski with Hope Mission tells me the agency received about 10,000 water bottles as a result of that single, online request. Wow.

“It was astronomical,” Komarniski says. “I expected a little bit of water would come in, but definitely didn’t expect it to take off the way that it did. Obviously we’re ecstatic.”

The majority of Edmontonians who dropped off bottles said they heard about the need through Twitter. Hope Mission has been on Twitter since 2009 but last week’s water post was considered their most successful since they started using the social network.

“As much as some people think social media is going to be destroying us and our relationships, for us as a non-profit, we feel supported by our community,” Komarniski says.

For the Edmontonians who dropped off water, thank you. Not only did you show you care, you also showed that wonderful things continue to take place in our city thanks to social media.

And honestly, you helped prevent serious emergencies that could happened had our inner city population become affected by the intense heat, which very much could have been a reality since that community spends most of their days out in the elements.

Pats on the back for everyone who retweeted Hope Mission’s message, and for everyone who physically showed up to donate bottles. You’re awesome.

Some Tweets of the Week:

@kevinlovestech: I don’t care how many followers a celebrity has. How many actually engage with them, or vice versa? That’s what really matters.

@Schesbalz: Today will be amazing. Pedicures with my sis, lunch on a patio, and then BINGO! #im19not80 #butitsfun #yeg

@jen_Lafferty: Have I mentioned how much I love #yeg on a hot summers day? It’s perfect.

@idillun: Downtown farmers market is so much larger than the last time I was here (forever ago) #yeg

@CommonSenseSoc: Yea though I walk thru the puddles of water, I shall fear no evil for I live in floodmonton #yeg

Click here to read the column on the Edmonton Sun website!

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