Water skiing squirrels, momma bears saving their babies off busy highways, soap ads and Super Bowl commercials, we’ve all seen them. In fact, millions and even billions of others around the world have seen them too!
So, what determines how a post goes viral? Why are dancing cats reaching more users than posts meant to raise social awareness or create change? This question has been on my mind a lot recently.
I have been fortunate enough to meet a number of families in minor hockey, but perhaps none more welcoming, united and outgoing then the Maveety’s. Three years ago I had the pleasure of coaching their son Brett while the family began to go through some hardships. His father, Jim, had an infection reach his heart 15 years ago during a bout of pneumonia and as my season with Brett wore on Jim’s health deteriorated. Today Jim waits for a new heart.
The family and friends have rallied together and started a campaign in hopes of spreading the message of organ donation in the community. As the team at Jim’s Hearts reach out to the community to raise awareness about organ donation is their message being heard?
Jim’s Hearts has a group of 109 friends and family on Facebook, a blog and use their own individual social media accounts to share their message. At first glance it appears they are sharing their important message only amongst themselves, with their friends, family and co-workers. But perhaps there is more to the numbers than they appear? Janet Crain, who maintains the Jim’s Hearts blog, acknowledges that some of their posts, including the one that spawned this blog, have reached tens of thousands of people, through Facebook, their blog and various other social media outlets.
Coming up with original content is difficult, making sure it reaches the people you hope it will is a full time job. But perhaps getting the message to the people you need to should be what matters more than the number of people it reaches? People will click like or share for whatever they wish, be it something cute, funny or heartfelt; some posts will reach millions and others only thousands. At the end of the day, if the message is spread to the people who need to hear it the most have you not done your job?
- Jim’s Hearts, “What is Jim’s Hearts all about?”, http://jimshearts.wordpress.com/about/, Accessed May 26, 2014. (Additional information obtained from Janet Crain by email.)