A few weeks ago my 13-year-old son was riding his bike home from our neighborhood farm where he had been feeding the ducks with some friends. On his way home he noticed our neighbor had a trunk full of groceries. Derick hopped off his bike and offered to help bring in the food. After he was done he sped the rest of the way home and didn’t think much about it. But our neighbor did. She was tickled that a young man would offer help without being prompted and posted a gracious note on Facebook. The kind thanks put a smile on Derick’s face and made this mom very proud. And so the story could have ended. But it didn’t.
Our state representative, Jim Dwyer, saw the note and chimed in with his own virtual high-five. Along with the praise came an invitation for a tour of the State House. Later in a private message we received his cell phone number and an offer to connect over the summer. This week we took him up on the kind offer. Not only was it a charming visit with tons of fun stories, he gave Derick a formal certificate of recognition for his random act of kindness. This small gesture not only made the Stone family a lasting memory, but our friends and family were touched by the recognition. They particularly loved the pictures we posted of our special day.
None of this would have been possible if Representative Dwyer hadn’t been “listening” to the community. This experience was another great reminder that social networks hold incredible potential to connect with your community – whether it is your neighborhood, sports fans, B2B clients or school group, but only if you’re listening.