When I first thought of running through 44 countries in 4 weeks, I imagined being connected to a small group friends and family through email. In addition, I planned to periodically post photos to my personal Facebook page – to prove that I wasn’t just sitting around watching football and drinking beer in some place like Munich or London. However, as the concept of Run-the-World 4 Parkinson’s Disease grew, I realized I would need to use other forms of social media to broadcast my message and save my memories. Initially that meant starting a blog. I was fortunate to have good advice and encouragement from a friend who happens to write a travel blog. After countless hours of frustration I was finally able to translate the instructions from the books I picked up at the library into a reasonably functional website…www.444ParkinsonsTraveler.org was born. Although the site is still in its infancy and its “Dad” is in desperate need of some parenting classes, I hope to have the site solidly walking on its own two feet before I embark on my journey next month.
After the birth of my blog site, I acquired my second child in the form of a Facebook page at facebook.com/444ParkinsonsTraveler. This has been a wonderful tool for me to reach out to friends and family. In addition, it has allowed me to contact others affected by Parkinson’s around the world. Thanks to these contacts, I have already arranged to meet many amazing people during my travels.
Currently, I feel as though I am pregnant with twins. We secured the Twitter handle @444Parkinsons early in the project planning process. However, I have to admit - to date I still can’t grasp the concept of Twitter and am not sure what role it will play in our overall (except to inform the world of my status if I happen to get caught up in a natural disaster or political coup). Then this week, with the help of my younger daughter, we set up the YouTube channel /444Parkinsons. Having just attended a class on action sports video equipment tonight, I’m very excited to attempt to capture video of personal interactions and sites as I travel. My goal is to upload an introductory video in the coming weeks and after that post short videos from each of country in which I stop. Hopefully this plan will serve to meet the requests I am getting for video footage and also help me tell the stories of those affected by Parkinson’s worldwide.
The development of my “family” of social media products has meant hours of aggravation for each minor success. I fully recognize my technical limitations and am grateful for the help of my tech savvy daughters and friends who have helped me. Now I want to invite all of you that are reading this post to provide “parenting tips” - in the form of blog site comments, Facebook messages, emails, etc. - to help me raise my social media “children”
Finally, I am setting a person goal to reach 444 - Facebook page likes before the end of March. This will allow me to consistently broadcast the messages from my travels and the stories of those I meet along the way. So please like the page yourself, forward to friends, forward to other affected by Parkinson’s, forward to others working with those with Parkinson’s, forward to those who are interested in travel, forward to those who enjoy running…I know this is a shameless plug – but isn’t that what all parents do for their “kids”?