Friday, September 10, 2010

This is Why the Geeks Matter

So I was going to write this whole post about turning 25 last week and how I said I'm in my "quarter-life crisis" and my dad said, "Ally, that's ridiculous. The chances of you living to 100 are slim, so 'quarter-life' really isn't accurate."

(Thanks, Daddy.)

And I was also going to write about how my amazing, beautiful mother will be donating her kidney to my amazing, beautiful father on Monday, September 13th. The short story: he needs a kidney, my mom has a kidney, she's been through every test you can imagine to make sure she can give said kidney, and now it's happening. Little bit more info: they're divorced, which apparently makes this whole thing weird to some people.

Want the long story? I'm totally going to be a bitch and make you wait because my mom and I are publishing it on our site, She Thinks, on the day of the surgery. SO, be sure to check out She Thinks this upcoming Monday to get my thoughts on this whole thing, and my mom's side of the story (which will probably be way more fascinating than mine). I'm also going to be tweeting from the waiting room with the hashtag #divorcedkidneys, so follow along if you're so inclined.

Which brings us to why I'm not writing those posts at the moment.

Something happened on Monday, September 6th, in Boulder County, just west of the city.

It caught on fire.

Like for reals.

So I took that picture from my backyard and then wrote an extremely eloquent message and posted it to Twitter, because that's what us geeks do.

And then something happened. A LOT of us started tweeting.

People from all over Colorado started posting pictures, telling what roads were closed, and where the flames were.

And some dedicated people started listening to the police scanners and tweeting everything that was said.

And the news agencies used us to tell the public what was happening.

Because we were the ones who knew, and who needed to know.

And the community started taking care of each other. Restaurants tweeted that they wanted to offer complimentary meals to those displaced. People started offering up their spare bedrooms and couches to people who couldn't go home, or no longer had a home. Strangers tweeted offers to house pets while displaced owners figured out a place to stay.

It was incredible.

On Wednesday tweets started coming out that the firefighters needed protein bars and energy drinks to keep up their strength. Since they were defending my city, and specifically the house where my brother is currently living (he's fine, his house is fine), I decided to reach out to a couple of Boulderites who have a far more impressive reach than I do.

First, using Facebook and Twitter, I wrote to Sean Foreman from 3OH!3, who Mike and I graduated high school with. He immediately started tweeting about what was needed and where to bring it.

Then I decided that the people who have Costco packs of Powerbars might just be following someone who works as an editor at Men's Health Magazine. And thankfully I happen to know an editor at Men's Health Magazine. And he happens to be a CU graduate who loves Boulder as much as I do. So I asked Adam to tweet to his followers that we needed help.

Soon after Adam's tweet, companies started stepping up. Detour Bar reached out to me asking where they could send products to. (I honestly never, ever expected that to happen.) Adam got in touch with Team Optimum and today I received SIX HUNDRED protein bars which I brought to the Boulder Reservoir, where hundreds of firefighters are camped out.

And it felt awesome.

Hannah was obviously overwhelmed with excitement.

So the next time you hear about twitter or bloggers or those damn kids who can't stay off of their ridiculous smart phones, remember that it can be useful and amazing and a force to be reckoned with. Sure, most of the time it's silly and narcissistic, but sometimes, when it matters, the geeks online get shit done.


The fire isn't out, yet. As of this moment, 169 homes have been confirmed as destroyed, and several of those houses belonged to firefighters. There are lots of ways to help, if you're so inclined. Click here for more information.

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