Saturday, December 1

Overlooking Stories: Social Media Successes

Sometimes the greatest social media stories go overlooked.

Most people have heard how fans banded together and convinced CBS to reverse its decision to cancel Jericho, a post nuclear terrorist attack survival drama, with 20 tons of nuts (among other things). Many know that Jericho is now set to be highlighted in 2008 as one of the few shows with any episodes for the new season.

Much fewer know that fans have since raised funds to support Greensburg, Kansas, after it was hit by devastating tornados and later created an effort to support the troops. They’ve also been increasingly active in supporting the writers strike. (It makes one wonder if CBS appreciates the fans it has for a show the network under supports.)

But this story isn’t as big as all that. And perhaps for that reason, it shines twice as bright.

On Mon., Nov. 26, popular Jericho blogger and dedicated fan Jane Sweat put out a plea to fellow fans that she was desperate and needed help. Her 11-month-old retriever, Boo, had been housed at a shelter, waiting to be adopted after Sweat had moved from her home with plans to sell it.

But when no one adopted Boo, Sweat had no choice but to retrieve her beautiful labrador retriever/beagle despite not being able to provide a home. On Tues., in less than 24 hours, fans not only created a campaign to find Boo a home, but one of them also volunteered to become a foster parent. Other fans donated money to help offset the cost of transportation. By Friday, the new foster family for Boo had driven from Indiana to Alabama to save Sweat’s beloved dog.

You can read Sweat's heartfelt thank you to them as Monster Fans of the Week here. (Their avatar names include: Kestral, Maybei, Terocious, Briairpatch, Lisibee, DBlacer, K4ist, Flutterby, Welcome2CHO, and perhaps others.)

“I believe they created a miracle and that miracle has changed my life as well as me,” Jane wrote in a comment to me on her blog. “I'm not the person I was when this journey started. At the end, though, I'm a much better person.”

Not so, Jane — like many people, you were always a "better person," perhaps just in need of a place to share it. This has been obvious to me for some time.

You know, I sometimes hear social media opponents claim that the general public need not be on the Web without controls because they don’t have anything substantial to lend, share, or say. One of them even labeled me as one head of a mythical hydra because I supposedly sometimes instill a false sense of hope in people that they might make a difference as equal to any so-called expert.

What will they lend, share, or say? This single story of kindness seems to go a long way, at least for me. Social media can be astounding; you just need to look in the least likely but right places — like a Jericho blog where you can find the story of someone, recently displaced from her home, making the effort to save her best friend, and the fans who made it possible. Amazing.



Sweet Tea on 12/1/07, 11:36 AM said...


Thank you. You have touched me deeply. Just as we humans often can be someone's support system when needed Boo has been mine. We went through some tough times together and I will never desert her.

Thank you for recognizing these wonderful people who created a miracle. They will be blessed many times over.

Yes, my life has changed but theirs has too. Can any of us escape untouched when we do good for others? It's a chain reaction.

Speaking of social media, have you visited ? I made Boo a page so she can blog too.

My deepest thanks to the Jericho fans who moved a mountain to give Boo a temporary home.

Hawksdomain on 12/1/07, 12:19 PM said...

Awesome post, Rich. Shows that we Jericho fans are more than a bunch of people obsessed with a TV show. We are people with heart. :)

maybei on 12/1/07, 3:51 PM said...

The outpouring of love for Jane and concern for Boo was simply amazing. And it renewed my faith in ways I could not have imagined.

Jane - she is a treasure. She is my friend and I love her.

Anonymous said...

Great blog entry Rich as always, but this one particularly appropriate in this season of giving.


Anonymous said...

No one deserves a happy ending as much as Jane does.
And no one deserves a thank you as much as Kestral does.
Thanks to everyone who tried to help.


Anonymous said...

Judist63 here, I loved this story. It has always been in my estimation the best of the human spirit that has drawn me to Jericho and its fans in the first place. I have seen the very best in people on the Jericho message boards and also some not so great but I am hopefull that in the end, we will all be better people because of Jericho and the people we have met since the ride began.

rubberpoultry on 12/2/07, 7:15 AM said...

Thank you Rich for telling this story. It is one that I have heard most of already, but it's nice to see it told in it's entirety in such a powerful way.

I think Jane is awesome! She has done so much for the Jericho effort. Her blog has been required reading for anyone who wants to stay plugged in and excited about what’s happening in the Jericho world. I’ve been a fan from the day I first discovered Jericho Monster.

Of course most of us know the public Jane. I’ve had the good fortune to exchange emails with her several times, and I know she had a kind and gentle spirit. No one is more deserving of the effort Jericho fans have undertaken for her.

In a time when so many factions of the fandom seem intent on feuding, it is nice to see the positive effects that Jericho fans can have. Saving the show was one thing, but what had been done for Jane shows the heart of what I believe we all are capable of. What’s even more impressive to me is that those involved have asked not to be specifically identified for their roles in this. It was done out of love and friendship, plain and simple. No credit, no glory. It was done to help a friend in need. That is refreshing. I hope others are inspired to see what we can all be about.


Rich on 12/2/07, 8:04 AM said...

Thank you all.

It was great to be able to share this story with more people. It is a testament to Jericho fans and also social networking. There are hundreds of stories like this that take place and go unnoticed.

What is equally amazing to me is that the effort it takes to do good requires less energy than any feud and the results are much more appreciated.

Truly, Jane's story touches all of us. I'm honored to have been able to share it with others who have not heard it.

@Jane, yes, I did visit dogster and linked to it in the story. I also linked to Petfinder via the photo description on the Flickr photo.

All my best,

Sweet Tea on 12/2/07, 8:11 AM said...

Rich, may I thank you again for this article? I thank all of you who commented as well.

RP, you touch me with your kind words. I know, through our emails, that you are a good, caring man and a true Jericho fan.

To all other commenters: I am proud to be a part of this fine group.


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