Yesterday, as I watched the Twitter messages flash on the bottom corner of my computer screen I saw something that made me freeze. In less that 140 characters I suddenly knew more about about the life (and unfortunately, the tragic death) of someone I had never really met. A link came through to announce the terrible news that Ashley Spencer (known on Twitter as AshPEAmama) had died in a car accident.
But what the news report did not, and could not know, is that this spurred a flurry of "Tweets" that spanned the globe, and this flurry explained the tragedy of the event, the very human cost and its devastating impact on a young family.
Today, also via Twitter, I found that it is easy to help … easy to reach out and provide a small amount of assistance to a family in crisis. Dan Mosqueda went ahead and setup a ChipIn account to collect donations for Ashley’s young family. Through this (and through the security of PayPal) you can donate as much or as little as you choose. But unlike the formal charity structures, every single cent goes through to Ashley’s family.
With such innovative and powerfully direct ways of making a charitable impact on the lives of people, is it any wonder that Seth Godin sees challenges for business methods of charities? We don’t need to look far to see need … and when tragedy hits your social network, the whole world catches its breath. Please don’t forget to use your small change to make a change.