Going Viral – COMM011 Blog #1

Going Viral

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?



4 thoughts on “Going Viral – COMM011 Blog #1

  1. I feel for Jim and his family and couldn’t agree more that organ donation awareness is so important. One success story around organ donation that went viral was Hélène Campbell, a Canadian double lung transplant recipient and online organ donation crusader. http://www.alungstory.ca It only takes a few shares between friends and family to get things rolling. I was happy to share Jim’s story.

    • Thanks for your warm comments. Helene was a great example of what one person can do with some perseverance. She and her small network took her story to international levels when it touched the lives of Ellen and many others.
      I wanted to share an update with you as well. Jim and Marah’s story was picked up by Trillium Gift for Life on Facebook yesterday, in 17 hours it’s been shared by over 1,000 people. It truly is amazing what you can start at the grass roots level in social media, this really has become the age of now!

  2. That’s great news. Using social media is a great medium for getting awareness out about organ donation. I remember hearing about Hélène Campbell’s story on the radio.
    https://beadonor.ca is an easy click away to helping so many people. It’s amazing how many people are supportive of being a donor but just haven’t signed up or shared their wishes with family.

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