Last week my son and I traveled from Des Moines to Red Oak (pop 5,754) to do a social media seminar for the Western Iowa Tourism Region. The region is large...very large...stretching from north of Sioux City to well south of Council Bluffs and from Council Bluffs east to within 30 miles of Des Moines. About 80 folks came to learn about social media and how it can help any business connect and get found. We had a great time and I think, once they witnessed the power of social media in a very personal way...they too enjoyed the day.
This is Leah Guffey Banister and her husband Sgt. Banister (who is currently in Iraq).
Leah and I "follow" each other on Twitter. Me = @RuralLifeRadio and Leah = @Farmerspice. When I posted a week ago that I was headed to Red Oak for this seminar she responded with a note that Red Oak was one of her favorite places and that she had so many fond memories about her grandparents, Jack "Buford" Guffey and Betty (Wigg) Guffey (pictured). "They are buried in Nyman", she told me. "But, I have two aunts
So, when doing the seminar last week I got on Twitter and asked for folks to shout back. Up until now most of the people in the seminar saw, I believe, little to no value in Twitter. Until Leah "came back" and offered a shout out and used her aunt's names, Mary Guffey, Elizabeth Guffey and Martha Guffey Heckert.
Right away several people in the audience gasped. "Oh my! I know those people!", said one. Another, "They come to the Red Coach Inn all the time for dinner!"
And, so the personal connection was made. And when Leah mentioned that her favorite house in Red Oak was on North 4th Street the people watching this projected conversation, who knew Red Oak, nodded in agreement.
The connection was made and Twitter meant something. No doubt we'll be seeing more folks in Western Iowa on Twitter and other social media as they work toward improving our Rural Economy by encouraging people to come and experience the beauty of Western Iowa.