Many people of a certain generation (mine) complain about how social media has changed our lives for the worse. I would agree to a point that being immersed in social media can lead to addictive and other antisocial behavior. It can have detrimental effects upon real world relationships.
Sometimes we overlook the incredibly positive gifts that evolve from having instant and unprecedented access to one other. There are numerous examples about how social media sites such as Twitter can be utilized during natural disasters, or other emergent events to save lives.
There is no doubt that the use of social media during situations that require immediate mobilization of people is one of the most powerful benefits of social media. However, these benefits are not limited to improving only the physical aspects of our world as individuals. Social media also opens a whole new world where people can mobilize their resources for the betterment of society as a whole.
For example, let’s take a look at what happened since #BillsMafia emerged on Twitter. Born from an abnormal passion for a hapless football team that has not made the playoffs for nearly a decade and a half, Bills fans were desperately searching for a reason to “Billieve.”
It’s human nature to question the meaning of suffering. When bad things happen, we can become obsessed with trying to understand the “why” instead of directing our focus toward a better outcome. What is great about the Bills fan base, with respect to this issue, is that we understand that this misdirection of emotional energy is wasteful.
So we as Bills fans seek to find meaning in our collective suffering by banding together for the greater ‘good.’ THIS is what formed the kernel that grew into what is now #BillsMafia. Let’s take our collective pain and turn it into something that will help other people. It was a thing of beauty to watch on Twitter as #BillsMafia literally erupted from a sense of collective despair from our demoralized fan base.
We have seen what the power of passion can do for channeling resources toward those in need. I never cease to be amazed at the power of direct interaction that Twitter provides between people who would otherwise have little or no chance of ever accessing the attention of one another. Are there any other ways to use the power of social media for the purpose of doing ‘good’ as Buffalo Bills fans?
It occurred to this carbon-dated fan that maybe we should look at ways to use social media to expand our view as fans regarding what we can do to change the misfortune of this team. After all, what brings us together as a fan base is our love for the Buffalo Bills. It has been a stressful and emotional investment for more than fifty years.
It’s also been one where we as a fan base have little direct control over team success other than buying tickets, merchandise and cheering on our team at games. So what could we do to change that situation using social media?
There is an opportunity for Bills fans to show why they are different than any other fan base through our connection by way of #BillsMafia. While it has been great fun to have the chance to interact directly with players via Twitter, it is also an opportunity that begs to realize its full potential.
Instead of using Twitter to disparage players and other trolling behavior, what if we used it as a means of sending an organized set of positive messages to players specifically tailored toward supporting their success? Let’s examine how to do this a little closer.
The other day I sent out a tweet to @66_Henderson (Seantrel Henderson) welcoming him to the Buffalo Bills. I was touched when he put it on his ‘favorites’ list. That got me thinking, which is always a dangerous thing.
Players like Mr. Henderson intrigue me. This is a young man with the potential to become a superstar in the NFL. He went through some difficult times, but is being given a one-shot deal to achieve his lifelong dream.
What if I decided to offer support by sending out regular tweets to let him know that we as Bills fans have his back? For some reason yet to be determined, I was deeply moved by Mr. Henderson’s situation. I want to reach out to him and let him know that there are people as far as Wyoming who believe in him and want him to succeed.
This could be a version of “adopt a player,” a practice that many fans use on message boards to show their support for a particular player over the course of a season. However, players rarely read anything on football message boards (and that is probably a good thing), so that often is only an exercise in futility. Twitter is a better platform for this type of strategy anyway.
So #BillsMafia, I propose that we show why we are the greatest fan base in the NFL by adopting a player and tweeting messages of support to them to let them know the entire fan base is invested in their success. Look no further than how the Kelly family reminds us that we are helping to sustain them through one of life’s most difficult challenges.
If we can direct a more organized approach in offering fan support by way of social media, maybe we can have a greater impact on showing players why we are a fan base like no other. We have only begun to tap into the power of the people in achieving success through their collective and relentless desire to do ‘good.’
We are seeing through the work of the BillsMafia that we are far more powerful as a united, organized group. Let’s take this to the next level and be proactive in supporting our dream. We can make this happen. We can change the outcome of the future through sending love, not hate through social media. Let’s try it, and see where it goes!