People often think our online lives are not real, that our relationships there are somehow less meaningful and that what occurs to us personally online means nothing compared to the physical. We believe our online lives and friendships have value, and that we owe respect to this magical, digital world.
The recent news of the passing (see http://standbytaskforce.org/eliana-zemmer-sbtf-mapper-friend-to-many-of-us/) of our dear comrade, Eliana Zemmer, was unexpected to say the least. Eliana’s illness was sudden and tragically she did not survive. No one from our online community was aware that she had become ill or been hospitalized.
A discussion grew in response to this sad event. The fact that a community brought together to help others was so unaware that one of our own could leave this world without our knowing seemed unbelievable. The sense of guilt and anger for not knowing has both magnified and stalled the “normal” grieving process.
To ensure this doesn’t happen again within our community, the Standby Task Force’s Empathy Team has designated the 4th of every month as Eliana Day and the 5th of December as annual Hug-a-Mapper Day.
Small groups of SBTF members, three or so, will be formed to look out for each other. On Eliana Day, each member checks-in with their group via e-mail; tweet; Facebook update; text; phone call; or any 140-character post. On Hug-a-Mapper Day, coined by Core Team member Sara Farmer, the HR team will check-in with “every mapper on the planet” (or at least all SBTF members) via a group-to-group communications tool.
These days of celebration will be opened to the crisismapping community at large via info4disasters and EMsafespace. The beautiful image below was designed by ET member Rose Merritz as a logo and badge for signing-up with Hug-a-Mapper Day.
Remember Eliana by reaching out to your online friends and colleagues who have been out of touch. Check-in with your extended online community. “Hug-a-mapper”, Facebook friend or follower when you find them missing or for no reason at all.
Leesa, Christina, Donna & Rose @ ET”