On December 31, 2008 I was diagnosed with Stage 2 B-cell non-Hodgkins lymphoma. I asked my oncologist what I could do to up my chances for survival. He told me, “Get off the couch as much as possible. Keep active. Keep positive.”
I’m perpetually positive by nature, but getting off the couch proved tricky. Chemo really took it out of me. And thanks to the grapefruit-sized tumor pressing on a nerve in my chest, I was also wonked out on morphine to control the agonizing pain.
But I was determined to be a survivor. I knew eventually I’d start feeling better again. I looked for a goal and project to motivate me to get off the couch when that day came.
The project turned out to be Haunt Jaunts, my travel blog for restless spirits. It allowed me to indulge my passion for paranormal tourism, even if only virtually.
My first post went live March 30, 2009. I’d of course heard about Twitter back then, but I was still undergoing chemo and my energy was limited. It wasn’t until September 2009, when I was done with treatments, in remission, and had regained my strength that I incorporated Twitter into my blog promo regimen. I was shocked when I got to 100 followers in less than two weeks, hit 500 followers a couple of months later, and then soared past 1,000 right after the New Year.
There are a lot of paranormal bloggers out there. Many who have been Twittering longer than only several months. Few have over 1,000 followers. (Most barely have 500.)
I started wondering, “Just how many followers could I get up to this year anyway?”
Then I got the bright idea: Haunt Jaunts one year anniversary is coming up. Why not throw a party? Part of the bash could be a campaign to increase followers.
Except, that didn’t feel entirely right. Sure, I love the challenge of seeing how high the follower number can grow, but any celebration of Haunt Jaunts was also a celebration of Life. Any party had to honor that, too.
So I decided to make my followers worth something. Five cents to be exact. (I know that might not sound like much, but I’m no Oprah. In case my campaign proves successful beyond my wildest dreams, a nickel per follower should still let me put my money where my heart is without going into debt.)
I posted my intentions to donate a nickel to the Lymphoma Research Foundation (@lymphoma) for every follower Haunt Jaunts has come March 30, 2010. Then I Tweeted about it with a plea asking people to ReTweet.
The RTs flew. Just five days later, my followers had already grown by 100.
And since I’m not done Tweeting about my quest to raise money for LRF, I fully expect the number to keep increasing.
Not that I’m recommending you get cancer to increase your followers. But we all have hardships we’ve survived and organizations and causes that are near and dear to our hearts. This was my way of not only increasing my blog’s visibility and my Twitter followers, but also showing readers they’re valuable to me in more ways than one.