My dad had colon surgery in April 2009 which resulted in him spending seven weeks in the hospital and having to wear a colostomy bag which is, as both my parents will gladly tell you, a less than delightful experience.

As we spent that long April Friday in the surgical waiting room at the Hays Medical Center in Western Kansas, we watched the Oprah episode where Oprah was learning to tweet. The big social media news was the challenge between @aplusk and @CNN to see who would be the first to reach 1 million followers. That Friday, I’d pretty much guarantee I was the only person tweeting in the waiting room (on my Blackberry) and was gratified to have a few very kind Twitter friends checking in to see what was happening with my dad.

Flash forward to last week when my dad had surgery to reverse the colostomy and regain some of his quality of life. The waiting room now has wifi and several people were on laptops (including a gamer), and one woman was using an iPad. Oprah has moved way beyond the learning phase on Twitter, having tweeted nearly 140 times – an average of one tweet every 4 days since that episode of her show. Lady Gaga has more than 7.2 million followers, and @aplusk is playing catch-up with just over 6 million followers.

As for me, instead of tweeting from my phone, I was using Tweetdeck. Where I’d been willing to tweet messages which disclosed I was traveling during the 2009 surgery, I was careful to only tell a couple of people via DMs last week that I was in Western KS and away from home.

Nineteen months later, there are many differences in the nature and scale of the online world.

The importance of being with family when they need you, however, hasn’t varied one bit. For that, I’m very thankful.  – Mike Brown

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Mike Brown

Founder of The Brainzooming Group, and an expert on strategy, creativity, and innovation. Mike is a frequent speaker on innovation, strategic thinking, and social media.

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6 Responses to “Social Media While You Wait”

  1. Best wishes to you and your family.

  2. Nice post Mike. Hope your Dad’s health continues on the positive.
    It was interesting to me that this waiting room became your place to stop, measure and notice the changes in social media and online connectivity.

    Where else do you have this in your business? What are those markers in our lives that make us stop and notice change? Business, social and personal?

    • Mike Brown says:

      Really interesting question Roisin about where we have similar opportunities in other situations. The first ones that come to mind are reunions. The characteristics seem to be:

      1) The situations happen periodically, but with significant gaps in between to allow us to notice changes.
      2) Similarities exist about the situations (people, locations, events) which provide a point of comparison.
      3) There is some type of emotional/experiential dimension to the prior situation which makes memories of it very vivid.
      4) The nature of the situation spurs reflection.

      There may be additional characteristics, but those four sum up why this stood our for me as a point of comparison.

      Some other things in my life that fit these criteria? Seeing certain performers multiple times (i.e., John Mellencamp in particular), annual business conferences, birthdays/anniversaries, and funerals.

      Great questions, and thanks for prompting more reflection on the topic!


  3. stoma bags says:

    Hope your dad get really well soon!

    You may tell him to join some communities to get resources and interact with other patients.

    Just like Ostomates Family here on facebook http://www.facebook.com/pages/Ostomates-Family/129150163804784

    God bless! 🙂


  1. Tweets that mention Social Media While You Wait | Strategy Consulting and Strategic Planning -- Topsy.com - November 29, 2010

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