Never under-estimate the power of social media. It is so much more than Donald Trump tweets and watching videos people share about cats. In the last month social media has touched my life positively in many ways. I don’t think we always realize how powerful of a tool it is. If wielded poorly you hear stories of cyber bullies, poorly worded tweets, and more. I’m going to share with you two stories of how social media positively impacted my life in the last month.
The Missing Jacket
I loaned a special jacket to a friend for her child. At the time he wasn’t big enough for it, but I wanted him to have something cool so I did it. My grandmother gave the jacket to my son. With the flood of 2017 he ended up losing most things from his grandparent’s so this was very special. He had his younger brother wear it and now was looking for his baby brother to wear it as well. He loved this jacket.
I know I shouldn’t have loaned it, but I expressed how special it was to my friend and trust it was in safe keeping. Finally over the spring I asked for it back to take some pictures of the baby in it. At the time I felt bad asking because to my knowledge he never wore it. I assumed when finished she’d just return it.
Well, she was busy and I was busy. Kids got sick and things happened. Life happens and the get together failed to. However, I still wanted the jacket back. At the end of July I messaged her again and she said we could get together, but I heard no more. Knowing she had kids too, I waited until after all the back to school stuff was over before I messaged again. Finally in October I found out that the jacket went for sale on Facebook. I wasn’t privy to the posts, so I had no idea. Upon asking, she couldn’t remember whom she sold it to and all I received was basically post on Facebook and see if you can get it back, best of luck to me.
The Social Media Search
So with NOTHING to work with I relied on social media to lead the way, I posted randomly on a mom site and a yard sale site hoping to get some hits. People messaged me via various social media methods. They found the posts I couldn’t see, took screen shots and sent them to me. At first, I posted the for sale picture with a message looking for this jacket and the story. I purposely didn’t include the seller’s name at first because I didn’t want any drama. I knew with the little info she gave me and the situation didn’t make her look very good. There wasn’t much I could say in her defense. However, message after message proved I had to post her name.
Finally I re-did my post without her name cropped out on my social media. This brought tons of questions. “Why don’t you ask her?” “Why isn’t she helping?” “Did you get money from this sale?” “Why did she sell it?” Mostly questions I didn’t have answers to. My opinions I mostly kept to myself, although I did vent to a couple of people mostly only those I was friends with. I was heartbroken, distraught, and to be honest pretty angry. In case someone came forward, I went to eBay and ordered a smilier jacket to trade with this potential person.
Following up with people who liked or commented on the social media sale posts people provided me, I blundered my way. I posted it on my Facebook wall and Twitter. The posts replicated across yard sale sites quickly, some by me as well as helpful strangers. The messages poured in, by the 100’s, to be honest, on their personal walls. More screen shots of sales posts I hadn’t seen yet poured in. People who bought similar jackets who were checking to see if it was the same one. Hundreds of people shared the posts and it was humbling.
People offered to message her, they were sure she just didn’t want to give it back, and offer to buy it back. People offer to call her. I discouraged everyone. I’d already asked. She’d said all she desired to and that chapter closed. I can’t explain why she approached it that way and I heartily disagreed with it. However, my intent at this point is simply shooting in the dark to see if the jacket is recoverable.
The posts began late on a Thursday or Friday evening. By Sunday, I received a message. It was a woman who remembered the seller’s name and was sure she’d bought my jacket. She felt terrible. I felt bad she felt bad. She’d bought it for her boyfriend’s new grand daughter and Labor Day when he went back home to Alabama she’d sent it with him. So now, what she is sure is my jacket, is in Alabama. WOW! She said she saw a post on Friday, but then lost it so she couldn’t contact me. It took her all weekend to run across it again.
The eBay jacket arrived on Wednesday. The purchaser of my jacket received it back by Friday. It took us almost a week to finally get together. In the end, we had parent teacher conferences so she dropped it off in our truck while we were getting glowing reviews on my oldest son and picked up her jacket. When I arrived home I looked it over and sure enough it was the same jacket. Undeniably so because it even had my contact information written on the tag!
In the end I lost 2 friends over the situation. I felt bad how things went down and wish it went differently. However, I did my best to keep things as non drama related as possible. I am only human and I could have been much more vicious about the situation I tried to be as diplomatic as possible, but still have strong feelings about the situation. Many people encouraged me to report her to the yard sale sites and have her banned or more.
I felt as though she made a mistake and hopefully wouldn’t make it again. Unable remove negative comments posted in groups, since Facebook doesn’t give the poster that power, I didn’t engage them. I tried to shut most of them down quickly. There was little I had to say in her defense either, since honestly, she gave me nothing so in that respect, I remained silent. I tried to focus on the facts as much as possible. My respect for her went down, but not as much for the mistake as it was for her lack of assistance in helping me locate it.
I will forever be in debt of the social media collective that assisted in the location of my lost jacket. I’m humbled by the experience and the people who came forward thinking they purchased my jacket amaze me. The goodness of people and their kindness will forever be part of this jacket’s legacy as will the unfortunate way it all happened. However, the woman who returned the jacket now has one with an amazing story and showing her great heart!
The Loss of My Best Friend
Ok, so I may be just a tad pathetic, but my best friend is a really old kitty. Wednesday I came home to him passed away down at the bottom of our stairs. As it turns out, he passed away on MY slipper. He’s been in my life since 2003 and they figured at that time his age about 3 years. We moved all over the state together. He was with me during the pregnancies of all 3 of my babies. With the first one, he forcibly cleaned ALL the cats in the house before I came home from the hospital. When I wasn’t home he drove the house crazy by yowling for me all day and all night until I returned. The last few years I worked from home so he was with me everywhere. He’s been my buddy through pregnancy, abusive relationships, divorce, graduations, and moving.
The Social Media Post
Heartbroken I posted his passing on facebook. Mostly I looked for a place to put my sadness and work through my grief. However, over 100 people responded to my grief. Some with their own pet stories and others with condolences. Many told me not to feel silly for grieving so hard for a kitty. Even writing this now, I’m getting teary. I told my husband when we met that when Sammi passed it would be really bad because he is my buddy. Sammi is the constant in my life.
Sammi came to us at the KI Sawyer Airforce base after it was converted to public housing. He used our dryer vent to stay warm in a particularly cold winter. Not wanting to claim an already claimed kitty we searched for his owners. Finally, we found them. It was a Mexican with a tattoo of “I love pussy” on his chest. Obviously he didn’t love our pussy because they’d turned him into an outside kitty after he started spraying. At first, we resisted taking him in, but as the winter went on it was clear he wasn’t leaving and the winter was very hard on him. We found out that his soon to be former owner’s daughter would put him in a car and take him about 30 minutes to town, bathe him, and drop him back off out on the base. At that point, we abducted this kitty that was basically living with us anyway.
We took him in and nursed him back to health. He underwent flea treatments, ear mites, and soon was up to 15 pound of black and white fluff. Within the week he decided he belonged to me or maybe I belonged to him. Obnoxiously pregnant, I’d wake up to him perched atop my belly trying to hatch the life growing under him and purring. Once the baby came, he sat by him and purred whenever the little became distraught. This was a theme with all 3.
He never liked anyone who wasn’t kind to me. In his history he has pooped off someone’s shoulder, peed on them, peed on their stuff, peed on their feet, and more. There’s never been a situation where I felt ok with reprimanding him so I always just told the person “maybe instead of me punishing him, you should learn to be nicer to his mom?”. Sam was always a good cat. Not having him is tough on me and I’m not looking forward to the household without him. My gratitude for all the stories and hints for helping me through this period can’t even be measured.