Win a Fifth: How Has Social Empowered You?

Julie Pippert & The Fifth Estate

Interested in winning a copy of Welcome to the Fifth Estate? Then here’s your chance: The five people who best tell how social media has empowered them to make a difference for their business, their community or their family will win a copy of the book.

One of the cores aspects of Welcome to the Fifth Estate is an empowered citizen media that can challenge and circumnavigate traditional media (the Fourth Estate) structures. Businesses and individuals alike can join and develop communities to achieve great things: From social change to blood-loyal user communities. For more discussion on the topic, read Gini Dietrich‘s review of the book.

This is a great chance to get a copy of Welcome to the Fifth Estate. Demand has been outpacing supply to date. To win, simply leave your story in a comment below, and the best stories will be chosen tomorrow morning by the Zoetica team, and based on perceived impact. This is a subjective measure, so leave a great comment!


  • I had no idea of just how open-minded, charitable and community-driven the people in Houston are until I made friends on Twitter.
    Our nonprofit is trying to bring awareness to the Gulfton neighborhood of Houston as a culturally diverse area in a positive way. We have recently received a federal grant to support the youth and families in the community, and we need help.
    Social media has helped introduce young residents to the neighborhood because of their willingness to learn and share stories on Twitter focused on the city. We were the benefiting charity of Twestival which brought a group of people to our community center there for the first time, and has made people even more receptive to listening to our stories online. It’s great to get more responses from good people willing to support us than trolls!

    • Thank you for telling your tale, Brooke.  I hope you are networking with my colleagues in your area, Julie and Kami!

  • How has it empowered me to make a difference in my organization(s)?

    I have discovered it can be an unparalleled crisis tool, able to share information and media in an instant and without restraint. It means getting your media relations efforts tuned to the same drumbeat, and cutting down on the rush of inbound calls.

    For the Red Cross, that meant getting beyond a picture, and publishing entire photo-narratives that tell hundreds of stories. It meant getting people closer to the damage, and closer to that call-to-action.

    For my present employer, it has provided a way to give real-time updates about restoration after a major storm — and in a way that covers more ground with greater third-party endorsement and credibility.

    For me — social media has allowed me to connect with some really brilliant people. I have cultivated the network that makes me smarter. And despite my appearance in their networks — they are smarter too.

    • Ike: You are a true pioneer.  I have to disqualify you since you were going to get a free book anyway, but that does not minimize your great contributions to the social media sector. I look at discussions about who is who, and all jokes aside, I often feel they should have you included in them.

  • WOW! Where to start. I lost my job at a nonprofit about 2 years ago, due to the lousy economy. Since then I have embraced Twitter and Facebook and have had so many opportunities come my way. From invitations to stay with people during conferences to opportunities to do some great things (YEA Citizens Effect fundraiser for Gulf Fishermen!) to gaining clients for my new consulting business, social has allowed me to make things happen. Just the other night I wanted to buy a domain for my new business, something I had never done before. I asked on Twitter how to do this. I got responses from 10 different people. AND it was 1:00 in the morning!

    But the best part of social media for me was something that happened this past December. I turned 50 on Christmas Day. 2 friends said they wanted to hang out with me on Christmas. We decided to make and deliver bag lunches to homeless folks in Chicago. So, my 2 friends, my 3 kids and my daughter’s friend and I made 40 lunches. But before we set out to deliver them, my friends told me they had a gift for me. I will never forget what happened next. A large group of people had decided to get me an ipad for my birthday. They set up a private Facebook group and conspired together. They decided that since I was working so hard to help everyone in the nonprofit sector learn more about technology, they wanted to help me. This group was all people I didn’t know just 18 months ago. I had met just about every single one of them on Twitter. I was so completely overwhelmed by the generosity of this gesture. I will forever more be grateful for the creation of Twitter because it has allowed me to create an extraordinary community of people who have transformed my life!

    • A really nice story. I remember your 50th well, it was touching to see people organize on your behalf.  You are a valuable member of the Fifth Estate, Heidi!

      • Heidi: You won a copy! Please email me your address at geoffliving [at] I will get back
        a copy to you as soon as my next shipment of books arrives!

        • Awesome! Was so busy gallivanting with Kami and other greats after hours at the Cause Marketing Forum in Chicago, I missed this! Thank you :-) I will email you.

  • I’m hereby nominating Hope Mills Voelkel’s example from :  “Here’s a read to start your week about how powerful social media can be for good. Last week I saw a tweet about how Urban Outfitters ripped off an independent jewelry designer and duly passed it on to all my many followers. The original tweet became an international trend and the end result was that Urban ending up pulling said jewelry from all their stores within days (all that is in the article if you want to read the gory details).”

  • When you ask me how has social media empowered me to make a difference, I think – how hasn’t it? Let me count the ways. It’s allowed me the opportunity to become an entrepreneur by utilizing my social (and traditional) media skills to monitor and build brand awareness for small businesses, entrepreneurs and nonprofits. This impacts not only my community, but also my family, because as we all know – bills must be paid and children must eat.

    As the blog editor for the 2011 DC Twestival, social media empowered me to help a local nonprofit organization, FAIR Fund, raise funds and increase awareness of their mission.

    Social media has given me the opportunity to engage with, and learn from, people from various personal and professional backgrounds whom I would most likely have never met otherwise. I’ve been offered business opportunities and made personal connections via social media. Social media has impacted and empowered me on a grand scale. I can’t imagine life without it!

    • Wow, it changed everything!  So glad to see you are using social for change, too, with Twestival.  Thank you for sharing your experience!

    • Ms. Rasberry: You won a copy! Please email me your address at geoffliving [at] I will get back
      a copy to you as soon as my next shipment of books arrives!

  • How has social media made a difference to my life?

    I live in a suburb of Manchester, England, called
    Chorlton-cum-Hardy. Since I retired a couple of years ago I have become a
    community reporter through People’s Voice Media ( It has
    enabled me, despite my mobility restrictions as a polio survivor, to be as
    active in my local community as I could ever wish. I am running a project to
    get the  memories of what has been called “the greatest generation”, who lived through
    World War 2 on video, though my volunteering at Chorlton Good Neighbours (
    I founded, with two other people, Chorlton’s Green Festival, now in its third
    year. Our latest festival (
    had over 6,000 people attending, and was much enhanced by its use of facebook and
    twitter (@biggreenfest), both with over 1000 followers. I now regularly tweet
    (@bernardio) and as president of my local Rotary club (Manchester Breakfast, district 1050), I
    am try to bring my club into the world of social media, doing a workshop to show how it can be used. Tomorrow night  (01-05-11) we have
    sponsored a roundtable discussion on current events with 5 students  from 5 continents.This was advertised
    through a YouTube video ( and will be posted online after
    the forum. Social  Media does not
    substitute for face-to-face contact, but for me it works best in creating and
    strengthening  cross cutting ties in a
    local community, without it becoming too inward looking. Nor is it just for
    go-getting young peopl – older people and those who sometimes find it difficult
    to participate in other ways can use it to enhance their involvement in the
    local community.

    • Great story, Bernard. You have made a lot of these tools, and are definitely empowered.  Thank you for taking the time to write this compelling tale!

    • You won a copy, Bernard. Please email me your address at geoffliving [at] I will get back
      a copy to you as soon as my next shipment of books arrives!

  • Social media has been great for my professional life, but I have had the most joy in connecting with friends and family dispersed around the world. It has taken on even more meaning with the birth of my first child. With a grandmother 1000 miles away, and some of my longest and closest friends spread out across the world, it has been an invaluable way to stay connected and share in each others milestones.

    For me it has been about sharing stories, advice and hardships through words, pictures and video. Major milestones like the first time she rolled over, walked on her own or said her first words, family and friends that we rarely get to see in person have watched her grow up. It took on even greater meaning last year when a close family friend and single mother had to leave her 8 year old son to fight in Afghanistan. Between social media and Majic Jack, we were all able to stay in touch and feel a little closer to each other.

    It is amazing to me the sense of community that social media develops. I have heard some dismiss the relationships as not being as “real” as those established in person. For me it is similar to any relationship. Most are based on a single shared interest, or professional pursuit. Only a few close ones develop and last out of this. Social media can help continue those that may wane due to distance to continue to grow and become deeper.

    • Thanks, Jason. I remember when you were in your sophomore year with this stuff. You’ve come a long way, and the personal stories of you and your friend’s families are special. This is what it is all about.

  • I have been planning meeting and events for almost 20 years. In 2009, I had to change my business stance for two reasons: the field was getting very crowded and I was going through a divorce.

    I had been attending social media talks for about a year and I decided it was time to take the bull by the horns, so to speak. I started a Blog. I took over the Website maintenance of my site. I became active on LinkedIn and started using Facebook daily for both professional and personal use.

    In 2011, I have 3 social media clients and of course, I keep up my own social sites as well. In a nutshell, it has changed how I do business and more importantly, GET business. I spend about 70% of my time on social and 30% planning meetings and events.

    • Interesting.  Which one do you like better, social or meeting planning, or is it all people in the end?

    • Interesting.  Which one do you like better, social or meeting planning, or is it all people in the end?

  • When I started in this business 13 years ago, I was the only stay-at-home, working mom I knew. Totally isolated. Full time working mommies didn’t appreciate that I got to stay home with my kids. Full time home mommies didn’t appreciate that I worked from home. Wow have times changed. And along with them, the way we communicate with one another.

    Social media is a fundamental shift in the way we collect and share information. That, in and of itself, is empowering for the individual. No longer are we lost at the bottom of a social ladder, for the world has become flat.

    When I started on Twitter years ago, it was on a protected account to share information about my parents drive from Houston to San Antonio in the wake of Hurricane Ike. It was a useful too, but I could see the potential for so much more.

    Now, through Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and other social media channels, I’ve been able to facilitate entire communities…like the one that supports the drive to collect a million pounds of food for the Food Bank or the one that shared the excitement of a 5,000-kid robotics tournament with parents and friends and schools from around the world. The one that shares camp information amongst moms and even the one that walked me through one of the hardest moments of my life when my son was going through major surgery (which included that lovely lady pictured up there who visited me in person at the hospital bearing gifts and smiles from many friends I had only met through social media).

    I am no longer isolated.

    • Wow, a major game changer and a great example of changing everything.  Thank you for sharing your empowerment story!

      • Thanks, Geoff. You, Kami and Beth are such rock stars to all of us! Your work for social good is inspiring and the highest use of an amazing platform.

      • Thanks, Geoff. You, Kami and Beth are such rock stars to all of us! Your work for social good is inspiring and the highest use of an amazing platform.

    • You won a copy! Please email me your address at geoffliving [at] I will get back
      a copy to you as soon as my next shipment of books arrives!

  • For me social media has enabled me to actually have a viable business. I entered the real estate industry in 2007, and went full time in 2008. A couple months later the deflating housing bubble ruptured over night, and shortly thereafter we had our first child. The obvious decision at that point was that I would be the one to stay home with our little girl. As any at home parent knows, this is not a part time job, so this meant I was essentially putting my fledgling business on pause, at least in terms of being executed in any traditional (to real estate) sense.

    Though I have been a relatively early adopter of a number of social media tools, I had, admittedly, not gotten the vision for how I could leverage the tools in a unified effort to propel my business forward. A couple years and another child later I finally clued in to how enormous a more engaged social media and blogging effort could be for my business.

    Blogging and social media make it possible for me to be actively engaged with a large community of great folks in the area, and to be providing useful content online simply by filling in the gaps in my day. Pre-Girls waking; post to the Facebook Page, Nap time; put a blog post out or shoot a quick video. At a Red Light: jump on Twitter, and so on.

    I don’t get on Twitter to shout from the roof tops that I’m the real estate guy, I wouldn’t enjoy that anyway, but it does allow me the opportunity to let the world know I exist, and to be of value to folks (I hope). And I have managed to eek out enough blog content that more and more folks with real estate interests are finding my site.

    My wife and I say often that 5-6 years ago, I would have been out of business. Social Media is almost single handedly allowed me to avoid that.

    • Great story, Colin.  Love how it empowered you to be more than just a house dad, which is a noble thing in its own right. Trust me, I’m the daycare dad!

    • You won a copy! Please email me your address at geoffliving [at] I will get back
      a copy to you as soon as my next shipment of books arrives!

  • How has social media empowered me to make a difference? In a blog post?

    Growing up with a significant speech impairment due to my cerebral palsy, face-to-face communication was extremely limited. Then came along blogging, followed by Facebook and Twitter, and my voice was heard by the world for the first time. By sharing my voice, others have gained insight into living life with a disability and the need for accessibility in every aspect of life. Social media has empowered me beyond words.

    • That’s a pretty powerful statement. I would love to hear some more.  Really appreciate you coming on by!

  • And the winners are Monomars, Heidi Massey, Bernard Leach, Ms. Raspberry and Colin Storm!  Please email me your address at geoffliving [at] I will get back a copy to you as soon as my next shipment of books arrives!

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