The Power Of One Tweet
— Sulemaan Ahmed (@sulemaan) December 31, 2015
One tweet that turned into many retweets, that turned into tweets among politicians,
and significant media coverage,
— Sulemaan Ahmed (@sulemaan) January 5, 2016
— Gregg Tilston ✈ (@greggtilston) February 8, 2016
that turned into some necessary Habs fan ribbing (but that’s another story), that turned into something much bigger than, well, one tweet.
Let’s not kid ourselves. I’m sure when Sulemaan tweeted that one tweet he was looking for some guidance. Guidance around a situation he and his wife, Khadija, had experience for about six years, which coincidently was when Adam was born. Now the government won’t confirm, nor deny, that Adam is flagged on a list that can neither be confirmed, nor denied, actually exists. But that’s not the point.
The point is, this caught fire and quickly Adam, Sulemaan, and Khadija were at the centre of a media frenzy that took them by surprise. I want to let you in on a little secret; Sulemaan is the first person I’d name who would rather do good for the many, versus the one.
How do I know this? Because I belong to a, not very secret, group of peers/friends. It’s a legit group; we have a secret handshake, mandatory sunset selfies, and hazing rituals (which usually consist of the new person being responsible for booking the next dinner reservations).
Ok, I’m way off topic.
Where I mean to go with this is that Sulemaan often suggests that we take on a cause and we collectively throw our social clout behind it. If you know me, you know clout is taboo in my books but, in reality this group has the reach that could drive results.
Interestingly enough, Sulemaan didn’t ask for help. But so many people started retweeting, engaging, and calling out our government, that what came next was something pretty spectacular. Other parents started sharing their experiences about their kids being on the, non-existent, list. A hashtag #NoFlyListKids was born. Conan O’Brien even used it in his monologue!
Remember my point regarding the good of many? Twenty four parents have now come forward. Average people like you and me wrote to their MPs and Minister Ralph Goodale.
Looking to connect with your MP? Look no further than this link to ‘Find your Member of Parliament‘.
And in the end the government was obliged to reply. Minister Ralph Goodale has now suggested screening for under 18 year olds should cease. It’s a start, but there is a long, long way to go. This may make it easier for Adam and the other kids to fly within and out of Canada, but realistically, international travel will, most likely, still be impacted and we don’t know the long term ramifications.
To say this is all because of the power of one tweet diminishes the efforts of all the parents who came forward and the power of the crowd. I’d suggest this started a long time ago for all the families with kids on the ‘non-existent’ list, but the current step forward for everyone impacted certainly was started with that one tweet.
Now that’s crowdsourcing. Or more like, the crowd sourcing itself.