Thursday, August 5, 2010

Tanner's Story and the Power of Twitter

The story of Tanner Bawn and his aunt Catherine Connors has gone viral. It is the talk around water coolers and online chat rooms and social media. Tanner's customized motorized wheelchair was damaged while on an Air Canada flight from Toronto to New York. Tanner is 10 years old and has Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy and is completely dependant on his $15,000 wheelchair to get around. It is his life. Tanner and his Mom made the trip with Aunt Catherine to watch a group of tutu wearing bloggers and social media mavens, including Catherine, as part of Tutus For Tanner, a charity run in Central Park. When the group arrived at New York's LaGuardia Airport they discovered the wheelchair had been dismantled, seemingly beyond repair.
Catherine  immediately took to Twitter, first asking people for Air Canada phone numbers, and then explaining what happened. The online campaign created a flurry of reaction, making it one of the ``trending'' topics in Canada. By Thursday afternoon the family had the chair back. In a statement, Air Canada said an all-night repair service in New York managed to fix the chair. The company also said it would make one of Tanner's wishes come true. A trip to Disney World for the family.

While Air Canada finally came around to fixing the problem and is promising to look into what happened so it doesn't happen again, it wasn't without pressure from the twitterverse. And I am very proud to be an active member of twitter and what the power of the people can accomplish. Social media is a great tool for people and corporations. WE get to express our trials and tribulations, joys and passions, we can bitch and complain and most importantly find answers, friendship and support. Companies would do good to listen to what is being said in the realm of social media. There is much to learn, glean, and discover from customers and there is also a great opportunity for these companies to reach out to customers to offer real help, services and insight.

I am proud of the twitter community. We are a strong bunch of people, we support each other in good and bad times. Way to go TWITTER!