All the little reasons to love social media

This morning I was reminded of one of the many reasons I believe social media is a valuable addition to our lives. In contrast to those that say social media is breeding “arm’s length intimacy” or slactivism, I believe it’s actually helping us to be more human again in the way we treat each other. I have explained what I mean by this in business terms before, but today I wanted to share a small incident that reminded why I think it also helps restore our faith in each other in little, personal ways.

I had the privilege of speaking at the UPA conference in Milanwo  tdays ago – great people with amazing style which is not surprising in Milan – and after the speech I decided to go for a run through the streets to get some sense of the city in the few hours I had left before I had to get back on a plane. I took my phone with me to snap pictures on the way so I could share where I had been with my family when I got home. So there I was – running, stopping, taking pictures, running, stopping – forgeting that my credit card and driver’s licence were also in my pocket. At some point must have pulled out my phone and sent my driver’s licence and credit card flying. And off I ran leaving them behind on the ground somewhere in a public park.

A pic from the jog.

Now, as a tourist, this is not a good situation. Not only did I lose my credit card but my ID with it (rocket scientist behavior, to be sure.) Yet this morning, someone I have never met – Gilbert – who lives in Milan “friended” me on Facebook and sent me a message asking did I lose my ID and credit card in the Parco Cairoli and that he had them for me.

This is not a big deal, unless of course they fell into the wrong hands and that person went to town with my ID and credit card. (This has happened before. After i spoke at the Cannes ad Festival last year I received a phone call from my bank if i had just bought $2500 worth of drapes in Paris. It’s so heartening to know that your credit card is being put to good use decorating someone’s home.)

In this case, however, a good guy found them and used social media to reach out and put my mind at ease. Again, it was only a little think but it meant a lot to me. So Gilbert in Milan, you’re a rock star and so is the social media that connected us. Thanks for being one of the good guys and it feels very appropritae that we are now friends on facebook.

Have you had similar stories yourself? Where social media was part of the solution to a messy situation?