Social Media finally shows it’s heart!
After the events of the past week here in Australia, I’ve decided to take a step away from web marketing for this week’s blog. In fact, there’s real no takeaway for small business at all. This post is however about the way that Social Media has allowed us to connect with and support each other in one of the saddest days in recent times.
Social media has been bashed by many critics for its detriments and the way it has been used to bully and harass but the tragic passing of young cricket player, Phillip Hughes, last week has finally brought to the fore that Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and others can be used for so much more.
Very few people could have missed the news of the tragic accident at the Sydney Cricket Ground that has led to the death of one of Australia’s most promising young sportsmen. This single event has affected every day people from all walks of life and not just Australians, thousands from around the world have joined us in mourning one of our own. No-one can quite pinpoint why – was it because this young man died playing one of nation’s favourite games? Was it because he was so young and so promising? Or was it because of the nature of Phillip Hughes himself – so cheerful, uplifting and unassuming? Whilst we can’t understand why this event has driven so deeply into our hearts, we have shown that we stand united in comradery for Phillip, his family, friends and the man at the other end of the pitch, young bowler Sean Abbott.
This show of unity really began shortly after the passing of Phillip Hughes was announced through regular media. Tweets and posts started to appear with the hash tag #63notout. Images of Phillip in his baggy green cap (number 408) began to circulate through Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
But a real phenomenon really began when Sydney man Paul Taylor decided to put his cricket bat at the front door of his house, took a photo of it then sent it out on Facebook with the hash tag #putoutyourbats. Within minutes, this tag took hold and soon everyday Australians were heading out to their backyards, grabbing their trusty willows and putting them out the front to show a rare form of condolences for the passing of Phillip Hughes.
Soon, it wasn’t just just Australians taking part – the movement spread across the world. From Pakistan to England and beyond, individuals, sporting clubs and even businesses were putting their bats out. Even Google placed a simple cartoon cricket bat onto their main search page in Australia.
It was through this simple gesture, people were allowed to connect with what had happened and really take part in an amazing tribute to an amazing young man. I actually got a lump in my throat as I put the bat out the front of my house and uploaded the image of it to Facebook. The family of Phillip Hughes, despite the terrible loss they have suffered, must be completely blown away by the outpouring of support for them and the young fast bowler, Sean Abbott must know that we have got his back and that no one blames him for what was a simple, unfortunate accident.
This whole outpouring of support not only allowed us to show support for the family and friends of Phillip Hughes but it also banded “us aussies” together in a way that has not been seen before. And none of it would have been possible without the power of Social Media – finally being used for something truly amazing.