Yesterday, I got a very vivid illustration of just how powerful Social Media can be.
I grew up in a very small town in Western PA. Very small. Like, 200 houses maximum, small. The town was settled in the early 1800s by about 25 families, who lingered and intermarried until today when pretty much everyone is related to everyone else somehow… and folks are still known as “that new family” if they’ve only lived in town since the 1970s or so.
Now, this li’l speck on the map doesn’t have its own government – it is, in fact, an unincorporated area that straddles two townships – but it does have a church and a fire department. The fire department is an all-volunteer service, founded by the town fathers (including my grandfather) in 1942. And, like many volunteer fire departments in Western PA, Paintertown Volunteer Fire Department holds an annual Fish Fry supper every Friday during Lent. This town social event serves as a fundraiser for the upkeep of the fire trucks. The volunteer fire fighters, the junior fire fighters and the members of the Ladies’ Auxiliary all work together to cook and serve a variety of delicious dinner options, and everyone who buys a meal also gets a complimentary dessert – homemade cake or pie made and donated by the town mothers (including my mother). It’s one of those great small town traditions that makes us all long for Grover’s Corners, Bedford Falls and Mayberry.
So what on earth does this have to do with Social Media?