I have a confession to make.
Last night, I failed as a social media practitioner.
The picture you’re looking at wasn’t caused by a brick, a large rock, or even an act of God.
The picture you’re looking at was caused by some random Screw Ball’s elbow at the corner of Oxford and Talbot St. in London Ontario.
The exclamation point: I was in the car while this all happened.
Let me lay out the scene for you with complete candor:
I just finished a peaceful hot yoga practice at Moksha Yoga.
I’m in my Zen state as I pull up to the Oxford & Talbot intersection.
An obnoxiously intoxicated 30ish hooded Caucasian male stumbles rampantly by my vehicle and does a large full length body splash into the hood of my car.
He then keeps walking to the closest corner causing two people to wisely run away from him.
I dial 911, as it’s standard protocol in society that when one body flops a car hood that you don’t own, you should be arrested and charged with vandalism.
As I’m talking with a 911 dispatcher, he comes back to my vehicle and proceeds to slam his elbow into my windshield four consecutive times until it smashes.
He then stands there for 4-5 seconds with a sadistically pleasant smile on his face.
His teeth were surprisingly white for someone so strung out.
And then he walks off down the street.
After two more 911 phone calls and 44 minutes later, the Police never did show up and I chose to leave the scene.
Here’s where I failed as a social media practitioner:
I should have captured this entire incident on video.
Imagine being there on YouTube.com with me right now, going through what I went through, watching me lock my doors for safety, the people on the corner running away, watching his elbow unrelentingly slam into my windshield until it breaks, and then watching him smile at me in glorious triumph.
And then to be there with me, feeling my let down as your own, as nearly three quarters of an hour lapse and no police officer shows up.
The video would have gone viral, hit local media, the Canadian Press, and more.
All of this would have served society too: Because he would have been on video in his naked glory, Police would have probably identified him as someone with a past criminal record, swiftly located and arrested him, and the system would have been able to kick into gear with executing justice.
All this now becomes possible because of the video feature on smart phones.
Citizens now have a voice, when the system and other citizens let us down. The voice is that little device, called your mobile phone combined with social media.
I forgive and hold no animosity for this man as holding grievances don’t serve anyone. I will pay to have my windshield fixed and I only pray he didn’t harm anyone, including himself.
Last night I failed as a social media practitioner. I promise that next time, for the safety of your family and mine, I will not.
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Andrew Schiestel is the Chief of WOW! Projects at tbk Creative, a web design & social marketing agency that instigates and accelerates consumer action around brands. To contact Andrew about speaking at your upcoming web marketing & communications event, click here. Andrew can be followed on Twitter here.