Yeah I know, a little dramatic on the title, but hang in there, this is not a rant or a depressing story.
In wrapping up this year's LITweetup Helps campaign I couldn't help but think about the fact that it was both an Epic Win and a Tragic Loss and it's important to us as a community to discuss them. Both are hugely telling about who we are and the impact we can have and tell a positive story about where we're going. That said if you only want to know the date of the next LITweetup, feel free to cheat and scroll to the end.
In keeping with the theme, please enjoy the dramatic subtitles
Of Tragic Loss
So you would think the tragic loss would be our much lower results this year than in previous years but that's not really it at all. I am disappointed that Helps didn't collect as much food to feed our neighbors as we historically have, but really this was a totally new direction for the campaign with awesome brand new partners, so it makes some sense that there'd be growing pains.
The tragic loss in this case was me (@namnum). And not in the "Oh whoa is me, I'm such a moron" kind of way but in the "if only I had remembered what makes LITweetup work so well" kind of way. I forgot that what has always made our endeavors succeed is the community coming together. We each do a little part or add a little bit and that makes the event/project wholly amazing.
So if the time machine I started work on was finished, I'd go back to August-Septemberish when I realized I was way over-committed and one of a couple dozen LITweetup leaders or, even better, just email the LITweetup Helps coordinators from previous years. Then I would comfort myself that the process of curated crowd-sourcing that we've refined over the past few years would do it's work.
For anyone that was disappointed, I am sorry that I didn't do that. But for the record, I am not sorry that we went ahead with Helps even though I knew I was starting too late to do it the right way. I still believe that some help given to Island Harvest is better than no help.
Of Epic Wins
The much more funner-er section of the post to write. There are many wins from this years Helps: among them, we helped Island Harvest feed some people, some smart restaurants got some great pr by doing a good thing, a few of us were able to get together and great conversations happened. But I count 2 Epic Wins.
1. The Community Still Came Together. Despite the last minute craziness, despite the many challenges in the way and despite the short time frame to get the word out, when LITweetup-ers found out Helps was happening, they got to work. In order to feed people, many leveraged their networks, used their personal and professional resources and sacrificed their time and treasure to make sure that Island Harvest would get as much support as possible to feed our hungry neighbors. Maybe I should be used to it by now, but I am truly in awe of what you all are able to make happen. It is remarkable what concerned individuals can do when they work together to help people in need. You guys rock!
2. We Have An Amazing New Partnership. Again, thanks to an LITweetup-er we have an opportunity to multiply our efforts to help Island Harvest in 2012. Lindsey Myers (@LindseyeMyers) of Word Hampton PR created a partnership between the LITweetup Helps campaign and this year's Long Island Restaurant Week. Not only did they feature our efforts to help Island Harvest on the home page but Lindsey & crew found 5 participating restaurants to serve as food collection spots and to host impromptu LITweetup Happy Hours, and it was all done in less than 2 weeks!
Of Kicking Butt in 2012
As a community we have talent, passion, love, compassion and a shared interest in improving our little corner of the world. The big lesson that I walk away from the 2011 Helps campaign with is this: we have made a difference in Island Harvest's mission to end hunger on Long Island, in 2012 by learning from the awesome and the less than awesome, we will make an even bigger difference.
I would love to hear your comments, thoughts, questions and criticisms so please hit me up in the comments below.
I'll see you guys at the Social Media Club Holiday Party this week or at the upcoming free LITweetup event with SMCLI in January (info to come but save the date, it's on January 25th). You can count on the January event to be back to a traditional LITweetup, very loose in format and very tight in terms of quality conversations with passionate talented Long Islanders.