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On the Kindness of Strangers and Why Social Media Kicks Butt!

by Sami, 03/23/2011

It’s not very often a time comes that defines your beliefs on humanity.  A teenager from a small country travels to the States ten years ago. Doesn’t know any English, left parents and siblings back home and barely knew anyone. I stand today and couldn’t have been more proud to call myself an American. Even more, a Chicago resident. Why wouldn’t I want to be proud? In a city that helped me so much. Where kind strangers on the internet united to help a great cause. Because they wouldn’t think of doing anything else.

I’ve hosted many Tweetups in Chicago. It all started when I came to the realization of how great it would be to be able to meet, in person, the great people I talk to on Twitter every day. Turned out that I had a knack for it and hundreds of IRL (in real life) meetings later, I was given the name “Mr. Tweetup“. Thanks to Twitter I have had a very fulfilling and not uneventful past few years.

To call it a tragedy  might be an understatement, but when I heard about what’s going on in Japan I went on auto-pilot and had to help in any way I could. That’s how Chicago Helps Japan was born and with the help of amazing Chicago tweets, Facebook links and LinkedIn messages we were able to lend a hand to those in need.

Special thanks needs to be given to the Hunt Club and Eventbrite Chicago who both stepped up in minutes’ notice, to help the cause. Another big thanks to all the businesses that donated services and products for our silent auction.

Now, I know you must have guesses on how much we were able to raise. Well, my friends, with the power of Social Media we were able to raise…*drum roll*…$6050! Yes!

Just like I told @VeronicaLudwig, every second that I worked so hard to get this event going paid off and beyond. Honestly. SO PROUD of the amazing Chicago Social Media community. Especially for those who helped get the word out!

The money we raised will be donated to the Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Chicago. They will double donation making it $12,100.

So, if anyone tells you that Social Media doesn’t work then you send them my way. I’ll teach them a thing or ten about why Social Media kicks butt! Especially all the tweets that everyone sent so tirelessly to spread the word. Who knew that 140 characters can affect the lives of so many souls. Twitter played a huge part on bringing awareness to our fundraising efforts. Twitter, how do I love thee…let me count the ways!

Check out below video from NBC! Thanks @Nduhoski for sending the video my way! If anyone recorded the FOX or CBS clips please share them with us!

Chicago Helps Japan Fundraiser Tweetup

Please take a moment to support businesses donating to silent auction by following/liking them!

Dupreeblue, Bike and Roll Chicago, Floriole Cafe, Hoosier Mama Pie Company, Foiled Cupcakes, SKo-Fit, Lynfred Winery, Beard Papas, WOW BAO, Sunday Dinner, Best Vacuum, Lincoln Hall, Schubas, Redhead Piano Bar, Bull and Bear/Public House, Indira Salon, Rick Lundy, Murasaki Sake Lounge, Shui Tea, Chevy, Wildfire Restaurant, House On a Hill, Target Stars and You Swoop!


    • Anonymous
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    • March 24, 2011

    Way to go Sami! Congrats on putting together a(nother) stellar event for a great cause.

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      • March 24, 2011

      Thanks Mindy and thank you for coming and supporting the cause!

  • WOW! This is absolutely amazing. Congratulations and cheers to an incredible event.

  • Amazing, Sami. Your spirit and goodwill are such an inspiration!! I'm happy to know you and glad YouSwoop could contribute to the silent auction.

  • That's incredible, Sami! Paige is right; you truly are an inspiration. I feel like we all have a connection to Japan through you and your passion, and I am blessed to know you and count you as a friend!

  • It does feel amazing to put so much work into something knowing that it will all pay off to help someone else. What you did Sami, was beyond that. When you're on auto-pilot, it's because there is no other option. You're not thinking of yourself and how doing a good deed will make you feel awesome. You're not thinking of the "exposure" you'll get or how this will benefit your business. The only thoughts are that people are in pain. Pain that you could never imagine. People who you love and care about, people who you admire, people who are good and innocent. Auto-pilot is the only option. Doing whatever you have to do to help is the only option. What you did was beyond admirable. You showed your true love for Japan. You proved your genuine care for humanity. You found a way to raise over $20,000 for people in devastation and you did it all with true humility. Congratulations Sami! And THANK YOU! You're a perfect example of someone that restores my faith in humanity.

  • You ROCK and Those who came and contributed are giving something that will return to them in greater ways than they can imagine. Kindness RULES.

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      • March 24, 2011

      Thanks Duong!

  • Wow, this is incredible Sami! Congrats & thank you for taking the lead & organizing an amazing event in short time & bringing so many people together to support!

  • [...] week, many wonderful people got together to help raise money to be donated to the Japanese Red Cross earthquake and tsunami relief.  It was a great turn out and we were able [...]

  • [...] #ChiHelpsJapan was a HUGE success, raising over $12,000 for relief efforts. Sami wrote a great post on his personal blog about what inspired him to make a difference, but as planning an event on a “normal” [...]

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    • November 6, 2011

    On the Kindness of Strangers and Why Social Media Kicks Butt! http://t.co/4nH4VBP0 vía @SamiAri

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