There is something starting to develop on Twitter that I don’t think I’ve seen on any other social network so far. There seems to be a real growing sense of community. Now, you might say so what? We’ve seen communities online before. Stretching right from the dial-up BBS’s, through to Facebook. That’s true, they were communities, but this doesn’t seem to me to be like anything I’ve seen previously. This community has a heart. It really does care, and its growing and evolving.
My first example is the best. Connie Reece has been tirelessly campaigning on Twitter for her friend, Susan Reynolds, who Connie has never actually met in person, who has breast cancer. Connie has started a fund to collect for Susan, the frozen pea fund, so named after the frozen peas that Susan was advised to put on her breast to stop the pain. To raise awareness of this Connie suggested that people change their avatars to include peas, to stimulate the conversation. This has been a great success, with people not only changing their pictures (or pea-vatars), but showing support by pledging money to the cause. And it’s more than a fad.
The most amazing thing is that most of these people have never met Susan Reynolds. They only know her either through Connie’s efforts or through Twitter or Susan’s Blog. They have been brought together by this new medium. It’s not like reading a blog, where people often use more formal language and are careful what they write. In a blog what people have said may have happened days or weeks before. Twitter seems more like IM, where people put more of themselves into the conversation. And as it’s spread out over time, you get to experience what people are saying in their time frame. It makes it all seem more real.
As a result the sense of belonging or knowing that person or group seems to be heightened. Its not even like in Facebook, where that seems to be a few hours or so behind reality. Twitter is more, now. And Facebook has all the Web 1.0 accoutrements such as banner ads and all those annoying pirate and werewolf apps. Twitter is cleaner, makes you feel closer. And that is what a community is all about. Feeling closer to the people you know and care about, and extending that community in open and honest ways.
So please show you support for Susan Reynolds and Connie Reece’s efforts to publicize this by visiting the site http://frozenpeafund.com and making a donation, or come onto Twitter and join in the global conversation and join our community. And send some Twitter love Connie’s way as well, she has been working, from my estimation, day and night to publicize this with no financial reward for her. Well done Connie. And good luck Susan and get well soon.