So this past Tuesday morning when I awakened, I learned that I had made Twitter’s “The 10 Most Powerful Tweets of 2010’ list. While I was caught off guard with the news, I found it interesting at the same time.

As I saw the news about this on Twitter and Google, and I read further, low and behold – there it was. There was my Twitter story, sandwiched between President Obama and the BP Oil Spill, as having the #3 most powerful tweet of 2010. “Wowzers” I thought.

About 30 minutes later my phone started ringing, the tweets and emails started rolling, and the Facebook messages started appearing – all from friends, family members, colleagues and the news media… all who wanted to make sure I was aware of the news and also requesting to speak with me.


The Facts behind the Story: Understanding How Cell Phones Work

The story in short form is that I was on a mini-triathlon in Farmington, Connecticut, at Winding Trails; a park where I had never been and that I was unfamiliar with. Somehow while on the bike portion of the race I managed to get lost on the wooded trails. After realizing I was going in circles, watching the evening sun set in, and determining that I was officially lost – I kicked it into gear and tried hightailing myself out of the park. This is when I had my accident. I hit a big root going pretty fast down a hill, I used both breaks on my handle bars to stop myself, and I went flying up and over the handle bars and body came crashing down hard on the ground with the bike hitting me. After waiting for about 10 minutes assuming someone from the race would pass me, and then making two phone calls that could not get me a connection, I resorted to Twitter for help. [Read my full story here where I thank the people who helped me, and read my Twitter stream where ask for assistance in calling the police].

One question that remains fuzzy for some is how was I able to get an Internet connection on my mobile phone but not able to make a phone call? When USA Today covered the story they spoke to David Redl, Director of Regulatory Affairs at CTIA – The International Association for the Wireless Telecommunications Industry. David was quoted saying “that in areas with spotty cell phone coverage it’s not unusual to be able to send instant messages or messages through the internet.” Simply put, on a mobile phone, a phone call “connection” requires a large amount of bandwidth and strength whereas a text message, instant message or internet connection requires very little. This is why the UberTwitter application I use on my Blackberry worked in this situation. Additionally, Twitter is a tool that I use in my day-to-day job, and the UberTwitter application on my phone is up, open and running live on my home screen at all times.

The Reality of Today: Two-Way Communications

Yesterday I was asked by a member of the news media, “Leigh, how does it feel like to make Twitter’s Top 10 Powerful Tweets of 2010?” My response? “Exciting and neat.” Why? Because I thought my ‘Twitter rescue story’ was a big part of telling the world about the power that social media communication platforms, networks and technologies hold, not just in emergency situations, but in day-to-day communications. And I was proud to be a part of that storytelling.

My ‘Twitter rescue story’ went viral when it hit back in July 2010 due to the NBC affiliate in Hartford, Connecticut, locating it on Twitter within less than 15 hours after it occurring, and then additional media requesting interviews with me. Within days the story went all around the world from the U.S. to Sweden to Australia to Brazil to the U.K. In addition to all of the news coverage the story has been presented in emergency preparedness and response meetings, its’ going to be included in a text book on social media communications, and just last week I received a call that Blackberry is requesting to include it in corporate video of their own… The list goes on. Overwhelming to me, but certainly helpful to many.

By profiling my story in ‘The 10 Most Powerful Tweets of 2010’ the story itself has definitely shown and taught a majority of the world that our communications world has changed and continues to change for the good. So long are the days when news and communication was all one-way. Hello to these days – the days that show and prove communication is all about two-way and multiple communication and engagement.

The Reality of Social Networking: A Lesson to be Learned

To me, an average consumer who happens to be a communications and PR professional and professionally communicates for a living and develops social media communications strategies for clients – it is indeed ironic, but rather exciting and neat. I am happy to be a part of it all and I thank Biz Stone and Twitter for placing a consumer story like this on their list.

While I sustained no critical injuries, I was very out of alignment and indeed pretty sore internally for three months; from my neck down to my pelvic region on my left side. What I felt was the equivalent of the soreness one may feel after a bad car accident but it was nothing I couldn’t rehab through.

If I had to go through it all again just for the sake of letting the world know that social media communication platforms, networks and technologies do work in emergency situations and have forever changed our communications world – I would definitely do it. At the end of the day, if my story can help people in some way – than that’s a good thing. To me, when we are able to help others in or day-to-day lives then we are most certainly helping the world to continue to go around.


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