Changing the World

During BlogOrlando I mentioned to a fellow attendee that I was trying to change the world with the work I do. She looked at me with a half-hidden eye roll.

I really do believe that social media & community development can and does change the world. I’ve seen online communities who were made up of people who’ve never met support each other in times of utter chaos. I’ve seen colleagues rethink the way they treat their customers. I’ve seen long-term relationships start via blog comments.

I’m proud to be part of an industry, a movement that not only honors honesty, goodwill, and paying it forward but demands it.  Anything less is completely unacceptable.

For my entire career, I’ve struggled to maintain my wide-eyed optimism and the belief that one person can change the world, can have an impact. I’ve been fortunate that the work I’ve done has allowed me to maintain that belief after more than a decade.

Of course, it’s easy when you join an industry community that counts people like Josh Hallett in its ranks. I could try to explain, but Geoff already did:

But great leaders do more than talk, they act and set an example. Enter Josh Hallett.This weekend one of the most respected, soft-spoken minds in our business did just that. Josh Hallett led several social media greats to Orlando for an unconference at Rollins College. There more than 125-175 blogging and social media types gathered. Knowledge was transferred, friends were made, and relationships were strengthened.

The conversation moved offline into good old-fashioned relationship development. And it happened because a man – who has nothing to prove in the social media realm –wants to give to his community. Sure Josh quips that it’s because he doesn’t want to fly west. But he does that all the time. No, this unconference is labor of love.

[..] It’s obvious that he is a man of the community, both online and offline. Nationally and locally. And it’s really great to see someone carry the social media principles we hold dear to our hearts into his daily life and actions. It’s easy to talk a good game, it’s much harder to play one.

Change the world. You know you want to.