Hangouts for a Cause

Alalia Syllabaris is Cool After All

Tonight, by pure accident, we stumbled upon an incredible example of social interaction at its finest. A group of people, getting together, in the comfort of their home, to connect with each other.

Most of you probably didn’t know that the Latin term for ‘stuttering’ is Alalia Syllabaris, don’t worry, I didn’t either. However, I bet you can name at least one friend, family member or colleague that deals with stuttering/stammering or has dealt with it in their past.

Stutter Social (http://www.stuttersocial.com) is a website that was founded by +David Resnick and +Daniele Rossi to help people that deal with stuttering connect with each other from around the world. Tonight, we stumbled into their hangout and unlocked some secrets to their special clan.

+David Resnick, the co-founder of Stutter Social was one of two of the groups’ members that was initially in the hangout when we entered. The other participant was a former stuttering sufferer, +Mike Lee. I asked Mike how he came upon Stutter Social and he wittily replied, “I don’t know, how’d you guys get here?”

Touché, +Mike Lee, touché.

The group started in the last week of August and they host two hangouts a week. According to David, five to nine people usually show up, some repeat and some first times visitors. They’re people from all over the world.

“We’ve had people from India, New Zealand, Ireland, the UK,” +David Resnick said. “It’s a pretty neat way for people [to connect].”

David provided an example of how Stutter Social blurs boarders and brings in people that wouldn’t normally find acceptance in their local communities: “In India, social attitudes towards stuttering are totally different and sometimes people who stutter in India have never met others that stutter. It’s kind of an empathetic exchange that happens and its really cool to see.”

“I grew up in Korea–stuttering–and I know where he’s coming from,” +Mike Lee said in response to David’s comment. “I think the number one problem outside of the US is awareness.”

Inside of the United States there are several organizations that help people that suffer from stuttering connect and cope. One of the most notable organizations is the National Stuttering Association which has chapters nation-wide.

After David and Daniele started Stutter Social they contacted a number of NSA chapter leaders asking to help spread the word and send notices out to their members. Instantly, their participation grew.

“It’s super convenient, I don’t have to drive anywhere. The hangouts go on for an hour or an hour and half. For people that have a busy schedule it’s really easy and convenient,” David said.

As we continued the conversation, which included +Cam Meadows, +P E Sharpe, +Paul Roustan, +Raleigh Burke and +Trey Ratcliff (to name a few), more and more people from Stutter Social were contacting David in private chat and asking to get into their own hangout.

One of the people, +Sasha Rayshubskiy, joined and stated, “I am a person who stutters and I am a scientist.” People that suffer from speech impediments, disabilities and other afflictions are all around us. They’re our doctors, our teachers, and even our scientists. Usually we don’t even notice it!

We’ve all heard the statistics that 1 out of every _ suffers from ___. Or that 3 out of ever _ are likely to develop ___ in their lifetime. We’ve heard of support groups for these ailments and in all seriousness, some of them sound very intimidating.

Enter Social Media

What if there was a way to get people from all over the world to join together, to chat, to hangout and share their stories and bond?

“Stuttering is something that isolates people, and hangouts connect them,” David said. “So that is the thing that I’m going for.”

Bravo, David, you have truly opened our eyes to an incredible and inspirational way to use social media to connect on a whole new level.

What Do You Think?

Is there a support group that you belong to? Have you connected with others online to talk about something that you all share in common? How do you think people that stutter can benefit from David’s hangout? Do you have any personal stories?

Take a moment and leave your comment below. Be sure to check out their website and share this post to help spread the messageWe can each make a difference every day, just by sharing…

Why the Internet is Going Offline

It used to be that the people you talked to online were totally anonymous. There was a time, and there still are places, where people communicate entirely under pseudonyms. Having conversations with your “online” friends was rarely interrupted by spending time with your “real” friends.

Enter social media.

Times are a’ changin’. No longer are we bound to communicating and sharing friendship within our local communities. Cities are losing their borders with their suburbs, countries are blurring their lines and people are interconnecting.

This is happening online as well as offline. Now we live in a culture when you can share a beer in a hangout with people from 4 different continents and then coffee in the morning with people from 3 others. Or, you could hangout with +will.i.am while he performs live in NYC to learn that one of the people doing the very same thing lives right in your neighborhood.

Location Isn’t Anything

It doesn’t matter where you live anymore. It’s changing the way people shop. It’s changing the way people communicate. The Internet is changing the way businesses seek talent.

If you don’t have a LinkedIn page yet, HR departments might not take a serious look at you. If you have a very niche hobby or talent, the Internet can put you in touch with people that share your interests better than you might find in your own small community.

The Internet is blurring borders and all of a sudden your “online” friends mean just as much to you as your “real” friends. Anyone that has attending SXSW will most likely tell you that they’ve made some of the best friendships in their lives in Austin, TX.

In Conclusion

So, as the digital cloud starts touching down on planet Earth we’re starting to live in what I call “The Fog” and that’s a great thing. I wanted to share with you probably the BEST piece of GMail I’ve ever received in my life and tell you that social networking, with a little time invested, can create some of the strongest bonds, friendships, conversations and opportunities. But, you have to put yourself out there, engage your audience, and most importantly, interact.

Happy Holidays, +Zach Eggert!

Nashville American Heart Association Heart Walk

This year a team of my co-workers and I will set out for a fundraiser for the Nashville chapter of the American Heart Association. The American Heart Association is the largest voluntary health organization working to prevent, treat and defeat heart disease, stroke and other cardiovascular diseases. These diseases, the Nation’s No.1 and No.3 killers, claim more than 865,000 American lives a year.


I challenge you to help me raise money to support this amazing organization and to volunteer to help the AHA in any way that you can. Your donation, no matter how small can make an amazing difference. This year I have set a very reasonable goal that I hope to achieve by the end of July. Your donation, even of $1, will help me reach this goal. So, if you’ve ever lost someone in your family to stroke or heart disease, or want to fund research that could help us find treatments for heart disease and possibly increase your longevity, then please consider being generous.

In order to make a donation of $25 or more (the smallest donation the American Heart Association can accept online) please visit my team sponsorship page. If you don’t feel that you have that much money to donate, or just want to make a small pledge, please send your funds via PayPal. All funds received via PayPal will be sent directly to the Nashville Chapter of the American Heart Association.


(For Donations $25 or Higher)







(For Donations Less than $25)

Once you have made your pledge, please send me a tweet or e-mail and I will be sure to thank you for your generosity on my blog and on Twitter. Please remember, your very small token of generosity can make a very large difference in a field that affects so many. Thank you for your time and your good will. Please share this link and donate a tweet if you can’t send any money!

Regards,

Peter McDermott