@NotAloneAtXmas to go 365

This blog post is about a chemical reaction.

It is about a domino effect which has accelerated in a way I could never have thought possible in my wildest dreams.

@NotAloneAtXmas was born out of a hellish 3 months and an indescribable feeling of loneliness which I couldn’t shake. In the middle of the night about 1.5 weeks ago I woke up abruptly to the thought that if I was feeling this, there must be millions of others going through the same – especially coming up to Christmas. The feeling that I had to reach them was so strong in my head that I had to get up there and then and do something about it … almost as if the idea would dissolve if I didn’t act on it straight away. How I would do it was suddenly obvious … Twitter! I don’t think I even had to think about a name – it added itself.

On Friday afternoon, I waved goodbye to my little one until January, cried a lot, put my blinkers on and launched the account.

By the morning of Christmas Eve we had gone viral. One of the original tweets I put out to plug the account was being RT’d so often the #notaloneatxmas hashtag was literally spinning. By the afternoon, the RT’ing had calmed and I could see that followers of the account were starting to really chat to each other – already friendships were growing.

All I can say, is that what followed was nothing less than a small miracle; people who had come to the account because they were lonely were shaking themselves off and going out of their way to proactively contact others who were tweeting loneliness, sadness, depression, frustration etc. People stayed on the stream for hours, hand-holding others, consoling, chatting and offering company and a friendly ‘ear’ to others who were really struggling. By Christmas Day we had hit Twitter around the world and tweets were coming in in several different languages.

The number of offers of support we had from people who were not actually alone over Christmas was also incredible. These people were using time while OH’s were snoozing, or babies napping etc to just ‘be there’ for anyone wanting to chat. One follower who was home alone stayed online for the entire Christmas period – from Christmas Eve through to the morning of Boxing Day and contacted literally 100s of people. Absolutely astounding generosity of spirit.

I have shed many tears just observing the way that people have picked it up and, using their own initiative, developed it and pushed it and have, collectively, driven it to the point where NotAlone could now become a real institution. @carlplant has been invaluable already in simply taking someone’s suggestion of ‘putting us on the map’ and has created us a fantastic crowdmap for us to plot people, help offered / help needed, events, etc as well as a comments forum for future development: https://notalone.crowdmap.com/main

Others are volunteering to help with online forums, events and online support. One group of amazing people who came to us initially and separately for company is now being phenomenal in their drive to help promote us by targeting other charities, prominents and getting the word out by RT. We have already received tweeted support from politicians and from help organisations with whom we plan to form an online collaboration.

At this point in time we have 789 followers and the stream has been active around the clock, following the sun. It goes without saying then, that I will not shut the account down now just because Christmas is over. As so many have commented, loneliness and depression are not simply symptoms of the seasons, but are experienced by millions of people all year round. We will develop what we have started and we will stay open under the new name of NotAlone365. This institution will be a 24/7 service – all day, every day.

I am truly, truly overwhelmed by the warmth and fellowship of every one of the people who joined us and can only touch the surface when I say the biggest THANK YOU! to all those who have helped me turn a simple idea into something of such incredible value. I am excited to the point of popping! about what the future holds for us. If we can touch and help such a large pocket of people in 3 days, Heaven knows what more we can do if we sit down and plan, strategically how to move forward. Many of us already have ideas about where to take this and, whatever happens, move forward we WILL! We’re here for the duration.

If you are reading this and didn’t find us over Christmas, we will continue to operate under the name @NotAloneAtXmas with hashtag #notaloneatxmas until the afternoon of Friday 30th European time when I will amend the account name to @NotAlone365 with hashtag #notalone365 (this hashtag is actually already being used as a stream).

If you are reading and know someone who might benefit from the company of the friendliest group of people I have ever come across, please direct them to the account.

Thank you again to everyone for your support so far. Please continue to plug @NotAloneAtXmas soon to become @NotAlone365 and the hashtag #notalone365. I really believe we can help change lives.

 

MJM.

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23 Responses to @NotAloneAtXmas to go 365

  1. What a wonderful idea! You are such a generous spirit.

    • Honestly and seriously, it is the unbelievable response from others that has made this explode. I am so overwhelmed by it all!
      Thank you for reading and for your lovely comment :-)

  2. This is a lovely gesture, MJM and because you thought to start it, it has turned into something wonderful. Bless you xx

    I just had a quick look at the map. Have to say Wow! That is such a cool idea! How fabby, to be able to monitor what areas need & get support.

    You should add another hashtag #NotAloneThanksToMJM ;)

    I had my brother over for Christmas dinner and a DVD sesh. But the alones don’t take long to return, do they?

    Take care MJM.

    • Thank you so much Evie. Yes the map is amazing isn’t it. Carl put it together so quickly too. And no, I don’t like your new hashtag ;-) This was a totally collaborative effort. Equal credit to all who participated and to those who are still involved. x
      Glad you had a lovely day with your brother. I hope you’ll drop in to the forum any time the alones kick in. There’s always someone there with a kind word. xx

      • In that case, the #NotAloneThanksToAWonderfulCollaborativeEffort. ;D

        Thank you MJM, I have a protected account, so am not sure I’ll be visable to others in there. But I’m happy to show support and RT bits ‘n’ bobs that you tweet, if I’m about.

        xx

      • Hahaha this made me laugh – you are so gorgeous, thankyou!! And we would love to see you any time you want to drop in for a quick tweet :-) Thanks for your fab support Evie. xx

  3. Elizabeth says:

    great work and much kindness form all involved!

  4. kristen says:

    Thank you, MJM; you started something beautiful that kept me feeling loved and social on a day when I needed it most. I’ve made friends thanks to you, and I hope you know that you can always count on us whenever you need us!

    • Bless you for your kind words. You guys have done this for yourselves … you took a risk and got in touch with people and it snowballed. All respect goes to you people who got involved. Thank YOU for trusting this and I’m so happy it made your Christmas more tolerable :-)

  5. Julie says:

    Just amazing. X

  6. You are amazing. What an astonishing thing to have created. I am proud to know you. xxx

    • Blimey what a lovely comment! Thank you Chris so much, although definitely not amazing … just in that place in my head at that time of year I guess. Everything sort of slotted together. I am bursting with pride at the people who helped me turn it around. They are phenomenal. x

  7. Thank you, it would have been a horrible day. I’m glad you started this to help me get out of my depression well and so I could pay it forward to drag others out of their well that day. <3

    • You, my love are so welcome! I think you made me smile most of all on Christmas Day. Huge, huge hugs to you and I’m so proud of the way you pushed your own sadness aside and stepped up to help others. So many people had a much better day because of you – you were and are amazing. xx

      • Your idea literally made my day. It gave me a sense of purpose and made me feel good. I can’t think of a better gift to get on Christmas. Hugs right back, and I think you are the amazing one.

        Thank you

  8. Ally says:

    And you say you are not a Superwoman! You are truly wonderful, so just accept it already. To put it simply, you rock! :D xx

    • You’re lovely, thanks Allie. You always find something encouraging to say in your comments. You should check in to @NotAloneAtXmas, there are so many ppl I’m sure you’d adore. A couple in same position as you too. Love ya loads xx

  9. Diane prince says:

    I’m very proud of you. I have never had a tweet retweeted so much! Loved that people were touched. It’s a huge issue.

    Luckily I’m not lonely but should I be, or know anyone that was, I know where to tell them to go cx

    Di
    @healthymealkitz

  10. What a fantastic idea, so happy for you (and all the people it helped) that it worked and went worldwide. I hope it helped you alot too. All the best for the New Year.

    • Thanks Sarah, it’s been a whirlwind .. and I don’t think it’s over yet. Name has changed and we’re still gaining new followers and tons of support. The press is expressing lots of interest too. Working hard to set up the website now .. put this thing properly out there! :-)
      A very happy new year to you and yours too x

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