Last week, I was in Redmond, Washington, for the Microsoft MVP Global Summit. This was my fourth time attending the Summit; it’s a great opportunity for networking and providing feedback to Microsoft about their products.
I love catching up with people that I only see once or twice a year.
I arrived late Sunday evening. Monday and Tuesday were packed with technical sessions and energizing keynotes. I learned a lot about the direction Microsoft is considering for future versions of their products.
Everything that’s discussed at the Summit is covered under a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA). I cannot even share the names of the sessions or the speakers who presented. But it was good stuff. I learned quite a bit and hopefully provided some insightful feedback to the product teams.
I was expecting to spend Wednesday, my final day at the summit, doing more of the same. I had signed up to attend sessions on particular technology that I haven’t used much.
But that all changed with a text from my wife telling me that my six-month old was sick; she was taking him to the doctor. An hour later, another text arrived saying that the doctor was sending them to the Emergency Room!
I had to get home. So I packed my stuff and called a cab to take me from the Microsoft campus to my hotel room and then on to the airport.
I also called the airline to rebook a flight for that day. The average wait time was 37 to 51 minutes! I wanted to be on a plane in that time frame, not waiting on hold.
I headed to the airport anyway, without a reservation.
As I was doing these things, I shared my trials with the Twitterverse. I tweeted that I need to leave early to be with my wife and six-month old at the hospital.
The well-wishes came pouring in from my Twitter friends. Prayers were offered. Help was offered. Words of comfort were expressed.
A couple of friends searched the web for airline flights to get me home that afternoon.
Another friend shared a premier services telephone number for the airline.
Several friends offered to be the single point of contact for me during my travels, providing me with their cellphone numbers.
One friend even offered to have a meal delivered to my home to help make sure the older four kids had something to eat while my wife and I were occupied with the little one.
I was amazed at the support that came pouring in through my Twitter feed.
A very special thank you to each of you who shared the burdens with me that day and in the days that followed. There are far too many to name specifically or individually, but you know who you are. And please know that I truly appreciate it, more than you know.
David spent three days in the hospital with RSV, a viral infection in the lungs. Thankfully, he’s home now and has fully recovered.
Some people say that Twitter is a complete waste of time, that it’s idle water-cooler chat that distracts from real work. It can be.
Others say that it’s a great way for businesses to promote and protect their brand. It can be that too.
But to me, Twitter offers people a chance for community. In a time when the world is getting smaller and faster, Twitter is community. People can interact and invest in each others lives in a way like never before. Does it replace the local community? No, not even close. But it can extend your reach and broaden your community.
So, my Twitter friends, I’m going to have a barn-raising soon. Any takers?