One of my “babies” turned six-years-old this month! When it entered this world – OK, when I launched it, I felt like a mom to a third child, because the responsibility, I knew, would be quite significant and detailed. I even had a countdown and “virtual midwives” applauding! Through trial and error and continued growth, “SDBM” has been a viable online resource for celebrating local and online value, both online and offline.
I began blogging because I kept the faith that I would succeed at generating a regular income by offering digital services to small businesses – challenging, yet doable! But, what I did not quite realize was that the impact that this task called “blogging” was to have on me, personally, and the “journey” it has taken me on has been nothing short of mind-blowing!
Likewise, I did not expect to be part of (or witness to) such life-changing experiences, that turn out to be the inspirations that make this line of work/work-in-progress such an honor to be part of – isolating at times, but very “tailor-made” for the “work-at-home” lifestyle I have been determined to maintain as long as possible.
So, About Those Life-Changing Moments?
I took some time to reflect and reminisce about specific occasions I have been able to participate in that I would have found anywhere from difficult to next to impossible before the digital age!
Years back, (when blogging was novel and Twitter, Facebook, etc. were still futuristic) I held a contest from which an Israelis woman won four LEGOLAND passes! She then proceeded to write me to share that visiting the theme park was her dying girl’s top wish, and that although her family’s budget was tight, she shared how thrilled they all were to make the trip to California! I mailed the tickets to the front desk of the hotel they were to stay at, and that “defining moment” was one of great satisfaction – just one of the rewards that blogging offers.
Reminiscing, I browsed through my previous posts and chose to share (not in any particular order) six of the many noteworthy events that moved me on a personal level. Thank you for being part of the SDBM community and for participating, contributing and spreading the word.
1. San Diego Wildfires – Helping from a Distance
I had just begun blogging in 2007 when the San Diego Wildfires hit, and this simple platform (four incarnations ago) helped enable me to help spread the word to local families about the updated resources that were being offered to San Diegans such as shelters, aid, supplies, discounts and freebies and even spearhead a fundraiser. I was able to collaborate with a few friends (who also had blogs) and for about three weeks we regularly posted local resources and helped solicit donations for two families who had lost their entire homes in the fires!
Experiencing the power of neighbors helping neighbors in a unique way gave me another early taste of a viable way for people to make a difference in their communities, yet not necessarily need to leave home to contribute.
2. How I Connected with Oprah (or close to it!)
One of my goals was to have some connection or association with Oprah before she ended her show. Profiting monetarily from it would turn out to be an added bonus! How to do this, I had no idea, but I had some funny feeling inside that there was going to be a way, strange as that seems! When one of my online colleagues reached out and asked me to be involved in promoting and finding sponsors for a viewing party celebrating Oprah’s last show, I jumped at the opportunity! I grew to experience how quickly one hundred ticket sales could lead to 350 in just hours. I hosted a ticket giveaway and droves of women wrote in as to why they wished to win; it was if they were writing in to meet Oprah, herself!
It lead to a roomful of ladies celebrating a public figure whom they were big fans of and sharing how, in their unique ways, their lives were touched by Oprah. Some had gone through life-changing experiences and wanted to honor the woman who had motivated them profoundly and others spoke to the group about their experiences being on the show or in her audience. I was tickled to be interviewed by CNN and was able to pay my respects to a profound figure who still touches us all.
3. How I Met a Family Member for the First Time!
I had the opportunity, two years ago, to meet and get to know MJ, a first cousin of mine who was adopted as a baby. With some digging online, two close family members were able to contact her adopted mother and from there it led to our emailing one other, becoming Facebook friends, and eventually Skyping and meeting face-to-face a couple times.
There was a bitter-sweetness in coming to realize that she had been raised just minutes away from where I lived as a girl, but on the bright side, I was able to discover and embrace what I refer to as an important puzzle piece, which fulfilled a yearning deep inside that I had carried for years.
Thanks to the efforts put forward online (and to online social media platforms), I now have a lovely “new cousin,” and I have also been able to share my story with other bloggers who have similar experiences.
4. How the Internet Serves as a Lifeline
I have shared in various posts that online relationships typically take a back seat to face-to-face relationships, but building a relationship or friendship online can be a huge blessing, especially in particular situations. While my cousin Matt has handicaps that pose challenges in his ability to meet and communicate with people face-to-face as easily as he once could, he is able to bridge many of those gaps, thanks to modern technology!
His friends and family make a point of communicating with him via platforms that enable him to be the bright, witty and dynamic person that many might not have the pleasure or ability to get to know, else wise. Just his one post on SDBM attracted thousands of readers and even touched people worldwide – enough to contact him and express gratitude for his sharing such a personal side of his world. There is the power of just one blog post for ya!
5. Charity Begins Right Around the Corner
During a charity event (shoe drive) I helped promote along with The San Diego Parent Connection, I came to learn that the San Diego mom who had spearheaded it had managed to collect truckloads of shoes to send to an impoverished village in Africa, despite her being in the process of treatment for cancer, which had spread throughout her body!
Finding out out that she actually was a neighbor who lived in walking distance from me, I came to realize for the first time as a blogger how much closer (all meanings of the word) we are than we really think. I helped spread the word and then a SDBM reader volunteered to drop off the final batch of the lot, which turned out to be hundreds of pairs of shoes!
The stories of the power of word-of-mouth/mouse and the footwork of “unsung heroes” such as this mom (and contributors) go on and on…. and on.
5. The Difference a Click Makes
Lisa Flynn, who had lived in San Diego, but was an N.Y.C. resident during a time in her life, desperately needed a bone marrow transplant. One of my old posts I skimmed through (site redesign altered original post) reminded me of the power of “word of mouse” family and friends who are digitally connected can offer. Friends across the US, and eventually the globe were pivotal in helping prolong the life of my longtime colleague’s friend!
The outreach was so compelling that even Rihanna got on board to help Lisa Flynn find a bone marrow donor. Lisa was able to prolong her life for four more years, thanks to so many people spreading the word and helping her find the right donor.
The bone-marrow drives organized by Lisa were a major success, bringing over 3,000 new donors to the registry with fifty-six potentially life-saving matches for others. Until her death in 2011, Lisa remained a penpal with her donor (even got to meet her to thank her) who was a young mother from another country.
WOW – If in two words I could describe the doors that have opened due to this blog, SDBM, I would say, “Powerful Stuff!”
Shouting out about deals and half-off sales and helping clients explore various options to spread the buzz about their great services and products – pays bills, but the biggest smiles come from supporting local and online families celebrate life!
If you are interested in discussing how blogging (or getting the buzz out to families about your brand) might be a tool or pastime for you to enhance your life, too, please contact me! I work with all budgets. Email me at Stacey@SRMediaConsulting.com.
Thank you for your support over the past SIX years!
~ Stacey Ross, “San Diego Bargain Mama” (aka SDBM)
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