Last night WXYZ-TV launched a new initiative called Detroit 2020. The tag line is “Unify Inspire Act”. It is a news program and Internet marketing campaign designed to capture the public’s attention and focus it on the positive aspects of Detroit and the future of Southeastern Michigan. More specifically, where we will be in the year 2020. I cannot tell you how this news series and their social media outreach have touched me and so many other people in the metro Detroit area.
I was privileged enough to have a small part of last night’s TV launch. The producers spoke with me about my views on Detroit, Michigan, and where I think we will be in 2020. Who am I and why was I a small part of this great initiative? I’m no one special really. I’m just a little girl who grew up in northern Michigan as a ward of the state. I’m wife and mother of two who currently lives in the suburbs. I am someone who is crazy enough to quit her corporation job and become an entrepreneur in the middle of a recession. I am no one, yet I represent what is within everyone. I am a survivor. I take the hard road and I learned this valuable trait from my beloved Grandmother, who also was a survivor.
Historically I’ve been an NBC news kind of girl. But then I attended TEDxDetroit and I listened to Stephen Clark from local ABC’s affiliate WXYZ-TV. I learned about the backchannel. He was using the #backchannel as a Twitter hashtag to interact with the viewers of Detroit and to listen to them. Quite a different concept from the standard network policy that just pushes content to you in a one-way forum. He started a movement here in Detroit. He reached out and he created change. Ed Fernandex at WXYZ-TV continued this movement and with the help of Donella Crawford and some other key players, they are making a difference. They launched a new website at www.Detroit2020.com and began alerting people of what was coming via their TV broadcasts, Facebook, and Twitter. Many of us sat and waited with enthusiasm for the launch of Detroit 2020 and what was to come.
While I don’t know exactly how many people tuned into last night’s launch, I know it was a lot. I have had a lot of friends and family call, email, text, or reach out via Facebook and Twitter to say they saw me on one of last night’s spots. I’ve read comments on Facebook and Twitter and the Detroit 2020 website. I even checked my website’s visitor log via Google Analytics to see how many people Googled my company after the broadcast. Here is the interesting fact: everyone except for one came from outside of the core city of Detroit. My website visitors came from Allen Park, Ann Arbor, Birmingham, Clawson, Clinton, Commerce Township, Dearborn Heights, Detroit, Drayton Plains, Farmington, Flint, Hamtramck, Harper Woods, Howell, Lincoln Park, Livonia, Macomb, Monroe, New Haven, Oak Park, Rochester, Royal Oak, Southfield, Sterling Heights, Taylor, Troy, Waterford, West Bloomfield, Westland, and Wixom.
But Isn’t Detroit 2020 Just About Detroit?
Well yes and no. It is about Detroit and it is about Southeastern Michigan. It’s about what we, the region, will do to give Detroit rebirth and rejuvenate our state. It is about our ability as a community to unify together, to inspire each other, and to act. It is about the survival of the city of Detroit, the state of Michigan, and each and every one of us. It is about our ability to act together and change the world. Given the geographical placement of visitors to my website, I believe the region is interested in raising up the city of Detroit and giving her renewed life.
I am an idealist. I didn’t know this until recently. And honestly, I wasn’t an idealist until later in my life. As a child I was negative and scared and confused. But a village of good people raised me and they changed me. As adult I see possibilities and when needed, I embrace change. I believe in the theory “it takes a village to raise a child” and I believe in giving back to the community. I believe I need to help raise the village around me; just as so many helped raise me, the child, some twenty years ago.
Everyone Can Do Something
I believe everyone can do something and the key to doing something is finding and using your inner superpower. I wish my superpower was something fabulous like bringing school supplies, blankets, and hugs to the children of India like my friends Tim and Amy, but for so many reasons, it is not. I wish I could participate in a Habitat for Humanity project, but I am clumsy. My superpower is Internet marketing and I will use it to help raise my village and help bring back my city and my state. Over the years I have used it by building free websites for organizations like food banks, community centers, or churches. In the grand scheme of things, this is so small, but it is what is within my ability. It is a use of my inner superpower. WXYZ-TV is using their superpower and they’re doing a remarkable job. So much so that they’ve converted me from being a loyal Channel 4 viewer and they’ve inspired me to ramp up my efforts within my village. I am hoping they will inspire the rest of our region to do the same.
A very unexpected person said to me this morning, “I saw you last night on TV. You said you don’t live in Detroit but it is still your city. I can’t get that comment out of my head.” While I absolutely meant what I said, I was very surprised that this little comment made an impact. It is my city, my state, and my home. I believe this with all my heart. I pledge to use my superpower to help WXYZ-TV make a positive impact on Detroit and give us rebirth. I pledge to make a difference and use the little superpower I have to do good. I pledge to raise up my village like so many people participated in raising me as a child.
This is just the introduction, but it shows you there is so much to come as this endeavor gains momentum.
What is Your Inner Superpower?
You have more to give than you think. In December our elementary school raised money to provide mittens for children at a school in Detroit. My husband always stops the car when he sees someone needing help. A few ago my daughter took her piggy bank to school to help a local family who lost their home to a fire. All of these are relatively small acts, but together they make a difference. Small acts can unify us and inspire us to make a greater impact.
Get inspired, unify within your community, and most important, find your inner superpower. Figure out how to use it do good for those around you in need.