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January 7, 2009

Sometimes what happens around social media surprises even us.

Last month, we held a webinar for one of our new clients, Dining Out For Life International. Dining Out For Life is a national organization that coordinates a fundraising event across 55 cities in the U.S. and Canada. In April of each year, diners can visit participating restaurants and a portion of their check goes to a local non-profit HIV/AIDS service organization.

The webinar we created was for the participating agencies to introduce our social media strategy and give them the tools they need to benefit from it. It was attended by 35 people from across the country. The Q&A section was facilitated by an operator to ensure that each participant could get their question answered. About 30 minutes after the webinar, I received a Facebook message from an unfamiliar user. It read:

“Hi Evan. I don’t usually do this but was really moved by your conference. This is Christina – I was the operator on your webinar today. As I was on the call with you and Matt I was already sending out the links to my family and friends and starting to spread the word in the office. I’ve had a few close family members and friends die from AIDS and have always wanted to give back in someway. I’m going to see how I can help. That’s it. Have a great day and congrats to the organization on such a wonderful cause.”

I was taken back by this message. In addition to it being heartfelt and personal, I was touched by Christina’s desire to help – and her immediate action. It was also ironic that we were holding a webinar to discuss ways to reach and engage supporters – and one was right there with us.

Maybe this isn’t an example of social media. Maybe this is how people work – getting involved in things that are important to them as they come to their attention. The goal now is to get this message to more of the right people. If social media can have this unanticipated, but positive effect, Dining Out for Life will be looking at a very successful event this year.

About the Author

Evan Urbania

Evan Urbania is the CEO and Co-Founder of ChatterBlast Media. He can often be found cycling, reading obscure tech blogs, teasing the office dog or getting bored with new social media apps.

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