The power of social media

– Inspiration shot July 2018

Real interaction. Connection. Creativity. Solutions for real problems. Social media is a powerful tool. In this inspiration shot I would like to share the three most unusual ways in which I have personally used the platforms that some call ‘useless and impersonal’. Share my pleasant surprise?

Will you take care of my deaf cat? And my Dad?

A few years ago I found a tiny, three week old baby cat in the country side of Mallorca. I called her ‘Polar’. She was so cute that she became an instant Facebook hit.
White cats have two problems: they often get skin cancer in their delicate pink ears and they are often deaf. Same for Polar. When she started to explore the road next to our farm, I realized she was in constant danger because she could not hear the cars. With pain in my heart I decided to find her a new, safe home in The Netherlands, away from cars and the sun. Willemijn reacted to my Facebook message and offered to come to Mallorca with her daughter to meet Polar and take her to her new home. Polar has been living with them for the past four years and is now a healthy and happy cat.

Fast forward 4 years. My father, who lives in Miami, is diagnosed with Alzheimers. We needed a caretaker to cook for him and make sure he takes his medicine, so he can stay in his own house. But care in the USA is expensive and complicated. I came up with the idea to offer 3-month ‘paid holidays’ to people from my network in exchange for this care. Again social media were a great way to reach a large, trusted group of followers and friends. And guess who was the first one to react: Willemijn! She and her daughter just spend 3 months in Miami with my dad. A great experience for all of them, a great relief to me and my sister. And Polar? She went on a 3 month ‘play date’ at Willemijn’s parents…

You in Miami?

From now on we use Facebook to find a new care-taker every three months. Anybody interested for the end of September?!?

Collaborative tattoo poetry

A friend in the USA wanted his favorite poem tattooed on his chest, but he had the idea to do it in a ‘weird language’. He asked me to translate it to Dutch: Driving fast on empty streets Nothing in mind Except falling in love And not getting arrested I made an attempt, but felt a huge responsibility to get it perfect. A tattoo is a tattoo, right? So I asked my Dutch friends on Facebook for help. What followed is one of the nicest interactions ever witnessed on social media. Co-creation of a poem. Almost a 100 people participated. They researched the origins of the lyrics, translated, made suggestions, founds synonyms and alternatives, gave feedback on the translations and even created completely new poems. Everybody built on what was already there, was respectful, creative and constructive. The result was the best translation ever! Razend door verlaten straten Niets aan je hoofd Behalve verliefd raken Zonder gepakt te worden Dutchies can follow the conversation here:

Don’t try this at home

Take care when you are getting your tattoo…

From tattoo to book

I got a tattoo (my first and only) in Japan. I designed it after a powerful insight in Thailand. The blog I wrote about it, ‘Tantra and Tattoos‘, got so many reactions, that I decided to write a book about the topic: ‘How to light your fire without a burnout – energy management for people with a passion‘. The book will be published in 2019 and there is a great ‘early bird’ offer for people who want to support me in writing it.

Help! I got stuck in the system!

When I was deregistered from The Netherlands, I was powerless. The city I had lived in for 16 years said that I ‘traveled too much’, even though I owned a house and paid taxes. It was like a ‘Kafkaeske’ situation, where one bureaucrat points you to the next and all say it’s ‘not their department’. After a few months of frustration I published a blog, explaining my desperate situation and shared it on social media one Sunday afternoon. To my surprise the Ministers were asking questions to the government about my case on Monday morning! In a few hours, social media achieved what I had not been able to accomplish in four months! Unfortunately the Ministers decided that even though the law -specifying that you have to sleep in a place for at least four months a year to be allowed to register there- was not meant for people like me, technically the city had been correct in applying it, so there was nothing they could do for me. I was deregistered and now live as a ghost outside of ‘the system’. Step by step I found solutions for everything. Managed to renew my passport, get international insurance, started an offshore company when the Chamber of Commerce deregistered my Dutch company etc. It wasn’t easy, but I always found a way, even though sometimes it was a bit unorthodox.


And then- just a few weeks ago- I lost my purse with my wallet. It took some trouble to renew my bank cards, but I could not get a new drivers license! They required me not only to register, but to wait 185 days – in The Netherlands- before I could get a new license. Even taking a driving test all over again (I really explored all options!), was not allowed. I went everywhere, spoke to everybody; there seemed no solution. So I wrote another blog ‘Checkmate‘, admitting that this time it seemed like ‘the system’ had won. People started commenting, sharing, doing internet research, sharing their experiences, giving tips, but still no solution. And then one day I got a call for some high up city office: “We saw on social media that you have a problem with your drivers license. Can we help?” Some of their employees follow my newsletters and had stumbled upon the social media posts. They offered that as an exception I could follow the ‘homeless procedure’ to get a new drivers license. Hilariously, the ‘homeless form’ started by asking for my name and ‘home address’… 🙂 Now I am waiting for my drivers license to be approved and ready!

Want to get more out of your social media?

Workshop Aug 4th. Are your website, newsletter and social media posts still about you? Time to make the mind-shift; adding value, inspiring and helping others is much more interesting. Learn to turn ‘look at me’ posts into interesting ones and much, much more. On Aug 4th I’ll be organizing a Social Media Mindshift workshop in Amsterdam. In a small group we’ll improve your bio and timeline, I’ll show you how to add more value to your posts and will help you to find your personal voice. Free 7 day challenge. Can’t make it to the workshop? Take the FREE CHALLENGE: “7 days to more impact & influence on social media”.

Inspiration in your mailbox

Join 14.000 people from 42 countries by signing up for my monthly ‘Inspiration Shot’ in the footer of this page