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.
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!