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Jack Walden Murnahan, Twitter’s youngest user, sent a message to social media yesterday that we should all take heed of. The message that Jack Walden sent at only minutes old was not just as you would think, and it should prove to each of us the greatest of lessons in social media.
Jack Walden’s message was delivered more directly to the heart of social media than even the most cleverly devised sales pitch or news story. It did not need to be spread around the world to every Internet user, and there was no attached agenda. It was simply the sharing of one family’s very excited welcome to their little boy.
The Response to Baby Murnahan Tweeting
The responses have been overwhelming. As I made announcements of progress toward the birth of our son, the outpouring of excitement and love was more than I could possibly keep up with. I sat down today to write a personal thank you to each of the people offering their congratulations and excitement for us. After writing several hundred personal messages of thanks, I started realizing that I was actually losing ground. More messages were coming in by Twitter, Facebook, and email, faster than I could keep up. Beyond just that, I knew that I would soon reach the 1000 direct message daily limit and 100 per hour limit for @ messages on Twitter. I have reached both of these limits before, even without having a new son.
What this incredible outpouring of support for and about Jack Walden teaches is that people really do care about people. Social media provides a means to reach into people’s lives, get to know them, and share in their joys, defeats, likes, dislikes, and more. It allows for unique and often touching insights to people’s lives, and for many of us, it provides great joy to feel a part of something bigger than ourselves. The power of friendshinp and caring is something that cannot be described in a single blog post, or in only a few lines. It is built over time, and built with trust.
Even if you skip the rest of this blog post, I hope that you will heed the message that a little boy named Jack Walden Murnahan has come to deliver about sharing in joys and pains of others, and the very deep-reaching power of communications with others that is so greatly enhanced through social media.
I will, however, since so many people have asked, share some of what lead up to Jack’s birth, and give you a story of this piece of my life that has been very touching to me. So read it if you like, and know that I have held your many well wishes and congratulations very dear.
Jack Walden’s Story of Social Media
A while back, I announced that my wife, Peggy (@pegmu) would soon give birth to our new baby. Since so many of our friends are spread around the world, the Internet and social media is clearly the best way to share our excitement and details with our friends and family. It is a lot faster to make a baby announcement using Twitter than to call each person to deliver the great news. Plus, it is a great way to show the new baby photos and video to the people who wish they could be there but cannot.
One of the earlier announcements of our joy was our Twitter Kids video. The video showed how our “human resources department” (Peggy) was working on bringing us more help to keep up with our work. If you have not seen it, you may get a chuckle from it. This was a fun video for all of us to make.
As the pregnancy progressed, I shared it with friends on Twitter and Facebook. On April 1st, I shared that we thought we would be welcoming our new baby that day. This was not an April Fools Day joke. Peggy was having very regular contractions, and they were increasingly strong. However, once she finally got too tired to stand any longer, she went to bed and the contractions subsided.
Several times since April 1st, we were pretty convinced that it was time to meet the little one. It really dragged on for a long time. We were visiting our midwife weekly, and we kept our fingers crossed that we would meet our baby soon. On April 16th, we made yet another a visit to our midwife following a series of contractions that seemed productive and getting closer together. Peggy was having contractions as frequent as every two minutes. Norla, our midwife, promptly put Peggy on a monitor and checked dilation. She sent us home and said that she would not be at all surprised to see us back either that night or the next day. At this point, Jack was already a week late, and we were becoming concerned that we may end up in a hospital where they would require a cesarean section (surgical) delivery, because Peggy had a cesarean section delivery with our first born, Simon. This was a very frightening prospect for Peggy, and she hoped to avoid it.
That night, Peggy did as she had been for days, she paced up and down our street, stayed on her feet, and hoped that gravity would help to enhance the labor, as it should. She finally wore out and had to go to bed. She was completely exhausted. She finally got some good rest, and I did my part to be sure the kids would not wake her too early. I wanted her to rest as much as possible because I was certain that she would have a very exhausting day ahead.
That morning, she walked with her mother around our neighborhood, and went shopping, mostly for the walk. By about 1:00pm, Peggy said that some of the contractions felt stronger, but they were just short ones that went away pretty quick. i suggested that we call Norla just to be safe. We described what was happening, and Norla said to come on in and we would take a look at her. As we left our home, it looked like things were getting more serious. Peggy had a couple of pretty strong contractions.
We arrived at the birth center at about 1:55pm and they checked her blood pressure, pulse, and the baby’s pulse. All of the sudden, Peggy was hit with a really strong contraction … I mean really strong. Of course, I tweeted it with one hand as I held her hand and comforted her.
It became clear that it would not be very long before we met our son. Norla could tell that things were happening fast, so she told Peggy to go ahead and put on a gown and that we would not be leaving without a baby in our arms. I will save some of the graphic details, but Peggy went from being dilated to 4cm to giving birth in under a half hour. She pushed three times and delivered our son directly into daddy’s waiting hands in under five minutes.
Minutes after his birth, Jack was ready to send his first tweet. Jack’s first official tweet was as follows:
Jack’s 1st tweet: Hi Tweeps. I was born! #baby #twanic #whew (now press enter, Jack)
That message, and the ones leading up to it, caused a huge rush of support and congratulations that I have been shockingly unprepared, I did not expect so many people to listen or care enough to show their interest of compassion for our moments of joy. I feel very honored by the warmth given to our family. As much as I want to respond individually to each person, I have provided this story to tell a bit about what happend for our family, and how deeply thankful I am to each person giving their support and love.
I owe a huge “thank you” to each of you. You really are the reasons that social media is great. You are the people who understand that the very best things in life are the people and relationships that you build. You are my social media rockstars!
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