Facebook and Floating – A cautionary tale.


I’m curbing my desire to riddle this piece with puns about when things ‘blow up’ on social media, ‘inflating’ ideas or what to do when you’re up sh*t creek without a paddle. However, hopefully as you read on you’ll forgive me my urge. This is a story of a guy whose flippant Facebook status sort of did blow up, inflated an inspiring idea and will very shortly find him well and truly up said creek, not without a paddle, but rather on  a lilo.

This year, the 20th of May Jimi Hunt posted a Facebook status saying he was toying with the idea of floating down the Waikato River on a lilo.

The response Jimi received from this single post suddenly saw the birth of a huge and inspiring project that has far surpassed what anyone might have expected from a relatively ordinary Facebook update. In January 2012 he will be paddling the Waikato River from Taupo to Port Waikato. A casual 425km.

We can insert the first moral of the story right here. Be careful what you say in your status, you just might find yourself actually floating down a river on a lilo.

On’ya Facebook, you’re not one to let something like that go unmissed.

With a self-professed tendency for doing things a little differently, Jimi saw the opportunity and is now marking his venture down the Waikato as a way to raise awareness for depression in New Zealand. Having suffered from the illness himself, he says he simply wants people to ask for help.

“When you do, people come to your aid from the strangest of places. You need not be ashamed of depression, plenty of people have it. You just need to ask for help”.

If you’ve ever struggled against a current on an inflatable, (typing that sentence I realise I might actually be speaking to a minority with that one), you’ll know it’s difficult, frustrating and can often feel like you’re getting nowhere. A lot like depression really, so, it’s a pretty well aligned activity to the cause.

The support community that has formed via his Facebook fan page also echoes Jimi’s ideas about asking for help. Everything from intel on how to construct a lilo, right through to sponsors has been largely generated through social media. He has also been gifted a waterproof iPad to take down the river with him, documenting the trip and feeding back through to his Facebook page.

With a bit of ground to cover in sponsorship arena, Jimi’s still on the hunt for people to get on board (there it is, knew I couldn’t do it without one) with their support, ideas for the journey or even just to tee up a sammy stop at some point on his adventure.  Check out Lilo the Waikato on Facebook and follow his mighty river float.

Editor in Chief at here SMNZ, I have a passion for social and digital media. When not writing and managing SMNZ I am the Head of Innovation at TAG The Agency, a digital ad agency and the Head of Sales and Marketing for End-Game, a software development agency. I'm also involved with a number of startups and I am always keen to support those that are bold enough to give things a go. Start something, better to try than to live wondering what if...

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