This is a story of how numbers and people intersect.

Yesterday was my mother’s 60th birthday. Since she lives 13 and a half hours ahead of me, I was up early to wish her. I typically log on to Twitter first thing in the morning, to catch up and generally confab with my “tweeps.” While I was doing this, I noticed a tweet discussing the fun one could have with a made-up hashtag like #SHTYMFM (Say Hi To Your Mother For Me).

I thought it would be fun to tweak that and ask people to wish my mother; she’s been grappling with the emotional roller coaster of officially retiring on her birthday from a long teaching career, while still a vibrant resource for her students. All they had to do was reply to me and include the hashtag #SHBTYMFM. (You don’t need me to spell that out, do you?)

I’ve experienced, over and over again, how generous “Twitterville” can be, but even I didn’t expect for 24 people, none of whom have ever met my mother, to wish her. That number includes a few who sent good wishes her way before I introduced the game, used #SHTYMFM as a hashtag, and one who sent her a virtual birthday cake.

My mother was touched and overwhelmed. She has also created a Twitter account. I don’t expect her to become a social media maven overnight, but I am excited that she is taking the plunge into what is, for her, a brand new frontier. On the other hand, she’s quite a remarkable woman, so I wouldn’t put anything past her. And to everyone who responded, again, I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Eight letters flew my mother’s way from three different continents, spurring her to not consider 60 years as the end of her relevance, but as an opportunity to explore the limitless potential that awaits.

That’s the power of connection.

Shonali Burke
Founder and publisher of Waxing UnLyrical, Shonali Burke helps purpose-driven brands bring big ideas to life. She teaches at The Johns Hopkins University, has gone back to school herself with the Harvard Business Analytics Program, and is creator/lead instructor at The Social PR Virtuoso® online training hub , where ambitious PR pros learn how to unleash their inner Social PR superheroes. Owned by Lola the Basset Hound, she's mad about ABBA, bacon, cooking, dogs, and Elvis, though not necessarily in that order. Wouldn't you like to be in her kitchen?
Shonali Burke
Shonali Burke

Latest posts by Shonali Burke (see all)