Today’s post is going to be very different than the normal how to type of post in which I share a strategy on how to improve your social media marketing strategy. In fact, I’m not even going to talk about strategies or processes at all.
Earlier this month I was asked to come to Jacksonville, FL as a social media speaker to participate in a conference with around 500 attendees from the real estate industry. The conference was amazing, very well organized, tons of great content shared, and a lot of fun seeing old while making new friends. While the conference and everything related to it was great, my personal highlight of my trip happened after the event was over.
At the end of the day I waited around after the event was over to meet one of my personal heros and an “online celebrity” to me, Ryder. As many of you know this past year was quite a wild one for me with things that happened in my personal life with my wife. Last year during one of the more trying times in my life, someone I met at the same conference in 2013 and kept in contact with across social media was about to endeavor down a journey that would also be a life changing experience.
In June 2013 Cristina went from being a happy 26 week pregnant woman to the mother of a preemie in a matter of hours. Just like we had experienced, her online communities of friends from across all the social networks began reaching out to lend a hand and support in her times of need. Even though Cristina was going through so much, she still kept up with things with Katherine just like how we kept a close eye on Ryder.
We felt the emotional roller coaster as he had his good days and bad days. The highs of being able to come home after 100 days in the hospital to the lows of having to be re-admitted back into the hospital. Meeting this tiny 1lb 8oz miracle taught me more about social media than other concept, strategy, trick, or technique I’ve known before.
What he taught me is that power of social media is in the people you connect with. This trip to Jacksonville was one of the very few conferences I’ve attended since my wife’s accident. I was completely blown away by the masses of people coming up to me before, during, and even after the event not to say how much they loved my presentations, or asking about my business, but the overwhelming first question was: “How’s Your Wife doing? I’ve been following along and praying for you guys.”
As I drove home the next day from Jacksonville I had plenty of time to ponder this recent event and reflect back. I realized quickly that over the past few years I’ve thought of the social networks I am on as mainly for business and not that much about how it allows you to have great friendships with people all around the world.
I realized quickly that friends of mine that are thousands of miles away, I talk to more on any given day than close friends of mine that live down the street. I noticed that I seemed to know more of what was happening in lives of people I recently met on social networks than people I grew up with my whole life. I quickly came to the conclusion that those connections on social media can have just as much of an impact on your life as those you meet in person or have grown up with your whole life.
They care about what is going on in your life, how your family is doing, and want to be there to support you just as much as your life long friends. Relationships that start in an online setting can become so much more. I know many people who met online on a social network that led to greater relationships, friendships, and even marriages.
Heck, when I started this company back in 2009 with my partner Jason Crouch, we had never even met in person. We had both been bloggers on a real estate network and began our communication there through comments on blog posts. As time continued on, we then had a few telephone discussions and chat sessions and realized we both had the same values towards business, had the same passions towards helping others, and wanted to simply help others. It wasn’t till the spring of 2010 that we actually met each other in person.
Meeting Ryder, the 1lb, 8oz miracle has definitely done a lot in changing the way I view the friendships I have made online. It makes me value them greater and cherish the friendships and connections I have made over the past few years.
How Are They now?
Well, Ryder and his mommy are both doing well these days. Each day he becomes a little stronger and is now 10lbs and just turned 7 months old. From what Cristina told me, Ryder still has the Oxygen tank to wear and also has all kinds of monitors that go off at all wild times of the night while they try to sleep. Hopefully though, those will go away before long too.
If you want to follow along and see more of their journey, I’d highly recommend checking out their Facebook page, Ryder The Fighter. Also, be on the lookout soon of a new site being launched!
Katherine? Well, she is doing really well. When someone asks me how is she I normally reply “if you didn’t know she had the accident & met her, you would never suspect anything is wrong.” There are very few times that she ever mentions any type of discomfort or limitations anymore.
They told her she wouldn’t be able to play with the kids anymore, but if you were in my house just about every morning you can hear the kids laughing and playing as they all dance around in the kitchen to songs playing from Pandora.
It truly is a miracle how she has recovered condition she was in. One of her Doctors described it as “30 hours of death,” and now we call it complete healing.