A Special Challenge: Put Your Hands To Work

A few months ago, I responded to a tweet from a random person, not uncommon for me.  This person was headed to Toronto for the weekend and looking for things to do.  Since, I am hospitable and consider Toronto, my second home, I quite happily intro’d her to a couple of people that I thought could give her some fantastic suggestions.  Little did I know that this quick 3 tweet convo would lead to something soo amazing and fantastic…

That random tweet came from Anne Ruess of the lovely Chicago!! We continued the conversation from that point on, quick hello’s here and there, queries about our various going on’s and so forth!! And then, I was going to be in Chicago, SCORE, finally we would get to meet!!!

In the days that led up to the conference, Anne contacted me, she wanted to attend the conference, I wanted her to attend the conference.  I wanted to meet her.  Y’all know me, I love to meet new people, especially people that I’ve chatted with on Twitter.  There was just a slight hiccup in our plans.  We needed some help and this is where I was thoroughly schooled by Anne.

Anne is deaf.  I’ve been around deaf people before and even took ASL (American Sign Language) as a Girl Scout eons ago.  Yet, that still didn’t prepare me for meeting Anne.   Anne is amazing, the bravest, most admirable woman that have I met.  Here’s why.  She came to the social hour after the UnConference.  I was so excited to meet her.  And then, I did.  I can’t even describe adequately my admiration for this woman.  She bravely came to a social function knowing that she would struggle, knowing that just about everyone would have a hard time communicating with her.  Still, she came.  She trekked on the bus, walked bravely into the room and with a smile on her face she met face to face people that she had only tweeted with. And, successfully, communicated with them.

CMGR unConf

That’s Anne with Nick Kellet and Ric Dragon, thanks Jessica Murray for the fab pic, that I shamelessly borrowed!!!


Until, I came face to face with Anne, I didn’t fully understand, didn’t grasp exactly how brave and amazing she is.  She and I tried to communicate with each other ( Anne, I’m sorry, I know I talk to fast), it was a challenge to say the least.  I struggled to slow down, to be clear, to vaguely remember some of the signs I had learned eons ago (I didn’t remember a single one).  Yet, Anne, smiled and nodded, she spoke back to me, she used her hands and then she bravely followed me into a crowded room and I introduced her to people.  She gracefully nodded at everyone and struck a conversation.  She tells you all about it here.

Anne, has now embarked on a new type of journey!! She is making an impact.  She has issued a challenge.  All of you Guru’s and expert’s claim that you are changing social, you are doing good, you are gathering your Unicorns and Kittens and showering the world with your brilliance.  Fine, let’s see you put your hands where you say your brains are!! That’s right, I am calling you out!!

For those of you not familiar with ASL, frequently there are shortcut signs.  A specific, single sign that represents a whole word or phrase.  Anne has embarked on adding to this.  With the influx of new language involved in Social, she has issued a challenge.  She is looking at all you Experts to help her.  All you brilliant minds behind Social and creating your start-ups with the cool, hipster names or using hashtags (BTW, there already is a sign for HASHTAG, thanks Brian Solis) for a conference or thought step up!! Create a sign that will then be used when anyone using ASL and  will be representative of your company or a specific word.  Then record a quick video and post it to youtube and then share  Anne’s facebook page.  Or maybe you know of a word that is used frequently in the “Social Media” world, create a sign, make a video!!

Tweet your video, post it to facebook here (Go like the page, too) and of course, use #EyeChallenge.  Need help, just ask Anne or check out the videos already posted and look for the new videos that are being added!

5 Replies to “A Special Challenge: Put Your Hands To Work”

  1. I echo every word you say.

    Anne blows me away. Every time I think about our meeting I get goosebumps.

    The first time I saw her on Video was the first time I knew she was deaf.

    We’d chatted on #blogchat. Heck I’d given her tips on making a video. I had no idea I was advising a deaf person to make a video. There was me pushing her to complete it and to publish it. I even nudged her the next day. Wow. She is brave, but more than that she’s real.

    You know when you meet someone and you get a sense of goodness and good intention. I got that loud and clear from my tweets with Anne.

    Then I see the video – I’m speechless.

    Then I figure I’m going to Chicago. I could meet Anne. Then I got nervous too, yet I pushed and nudged her to come to the event.

    I was as nervous and scared as her. How would it be. Well it all worked out just fine. We had an amazing chat. Ric Dragon joined in the chat and so did Kelly Loubet

    Anne was teaching us signs and telling us deaf jokes. We then went to dinner and we got to meet her brother and his friends. We had the coolest table in the place. A big round table. With three people signing.

    I sat next to Anne and we talked and scribbled sticky notes. She was telling my about her video project. Her idea that became “Signs for Startups”.

    Anne is amazing. Anne is the real deal. Go check out her blog.

  2. Anne and I have been buddies for some time now, and I can say that she is awesome. All the words you use to describe her are right on the money, she ROCKS!. Her Pinterest page is amazing and her Twitter presence is such a testament to the quality person she is. I know I am glad I am able to call her a friend..

  3. Brandie,

    Oh gosh, you apologized?! It’s OK – this was a learning experience for us and the fact you and everyone else made the effort in return spoke volumes. As you know from my blog, I really was and am “starstruck” by you guys. You didn’t let being nervous shut you down and though we communicated a little differently, creatively, we still got to know each other and I thank you for that – why? It makes me more excited about getting out in the real world and working among you guys and not worrying I’d be left out. It did make a difference when the Dragon, Nick, Kelly, Brandie made a point to not leave me hanging because it’d have been more lonely and harder to get in convo!

    Till then…challenge on! I expect ya’ll to be signing …not fluently in ASL but say…. at least “socially” in IRL in the future with me!

  4. I have known Anne all of a hot 27 hours and I can tell you one thing…I’m ready for 27 years! This woman, from what I have read on her site, from Tweets back and forth and her YouTube videos have blown me away!
    A lot of people don’t get social media. A lot of the people are, and I mean no joke here, are deaf and blind, to the extraordinary possibilities Social Media holds. But I don’t praise Anne for conquering her set back in being deaf, but her opening the eyes of people who may look at such a thing as a handicap. There is no handicap here. There is only handi-helpings of knowledge and information for a woman who has a lot to say with her hands, heart and soul.
    Anne…I look forward to a wonderful friendship!

  5. I’ve got to meet this gal! It’s not the first time I’ve come across her name, but it IS the first time I’ve heard the story behind it. Anne, look out! One of these days there I’ll be, and I can’t wait. I’m half blind, so I’ll barely see you sign, and you won’t hear me trying to explain something and a fine time shall be had by all. ;D A lot of people I like seem to love you, so I know I will too. Cheers!

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