Amazing how you can grieve the loss of someone you’ve never met in person. But I’m mourning the loss of a friend that I had the privilege of getting to know and work with through social media.
I was distressed and saddened to learn that Wayne Hurlbert passed away recently. He was a well-known, well-respected, well-loved blogger, and one of the first hosts at Blog Talk Radio where he generously showcased the knowledge and talents of others.
I was introduced to Wayne in 2011 when he reviewed my first book, Taking Care of the People Who Matter Most, and interviewed me on his radio show. He was a gifted host who knew how to make his guests feel at ease and establish a wonderful rapport. As a result, we stayed connected through LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook. I was fortunate to be interviewed again by Wayne last year when he reviewed my new book, Share of Mind, Share of Heart: Marketing Tools of Engagement for Nonprofits.
The threads that run through the many shared memories and tributes online to Wayne are consistent: “marvelous story-teller … talented blogger … true-gentleman of the social web … so helpful, so willing to share” — accolades from many friends, associates and admirers who, like me, never met Wayne in person.
“Can you create ‘real’ relationships in social media?”
In her wonderful tribute to Wayne Hurlbert, Toby Bloomberg also asks: “Can you call a person you never shared a meal, had coffee with or met face-to-face a ‘friend?’ She answers with this powerful statement: “The relationship I shared with Wayne touched my heart and added value to my life. It doesn’t get much more real than that girlfriend.”
Her eloquent answer is reinforced by a comment from Sue Ryan that I find just as powerful: “Your [Toby’s] words prove friendship transcends any boundaries we may have previously known, but includes what has always been most important – honesty, encouragement, trust, touching our hearts and adding value to our lives.” That’s what we all learned from Wayne.
Good-bye, dear friend. You will be greatly missed and never forgotten.