Sometimes it’s better to be kind than fake. The Harvard Business Review recently picked up a viral story about a young man who wanted to give his dying grandmother her favorite bowl of soup from Panera Bread.
On all fronts, writer Bill Taylor hits it on the nose. Sometimes in social media, companies, organizations, and even individuals forget that behind every work, every story, there are people just like them. So when Brandon Cook asked Panera Bread manager Susan Fortier for some clam chowder on a day they weren’t scheduled to make it, she decided to go above and beyond the call of duty. After all, Cook’s request came on behalf of his dying grandmother.
The sweet gesture wasn’t lost on Panera Bread fans and Internet perusers everywhere. The virality of the story has so far reached 500,000 likes and 22,000 comments on the Panera Bread Facebook page. People love a good heartfelt story. Taylor considers this a “a story that underscores why efficiency should never come at the expense of humanity.” What’s more, this is a story about the human condition.
A couple of weeks ago, SMWLA tweeted about how many twitters are in fact, fake. This is a big deal as Justin Bieber, Lady Gaga, and the likes may not have nearly as many true Twitter fans as previously expected. While it may not be considered as efficiency at the expense of humanity, it is a falsehood created by mass transmedia giants in an effort to garner support for an already larger than life icon of American culture.
In actuality, Taylor’s personal experiences question the supposed rare existence of human kindness. The human condition dictates in many regards that we focus on the negative. The glass is half empty in our eyes to the extent where when a story, a true story about kindness and giving come along, it has a more instantaneous virality than manufactured social media.
Want to learn more about the effects of kindness on a social media community? Have a hankering to understand online storytelling and hospitality on a whole new level? SMWLA has some panels for that! For more information, check out the SMWLA Schedule Page:
Image from Salty Waffle