#FollowFriday – In Honor of Service to Others.

This is a weekly series that I’m hoping to help add some more relevance to the #FollowFriday (what’s this?) Twitter activity that originally started through Lijit’s own Micah Baldwin to help connect Twitterers with one another. For this week’s selection, to honor of those who who were affected by the tragedies of September 11th eight years ago, I present this list of some of the people who I follow that I feel honor our country with their service to their community.

Christine Lu

I have not actually met Christine Lu in real life, but I do know that she has done some incredible work to try and bring people closer together in spirit of business and partnership. She’s the founder of The China Business Network – a membership organization that will fulfill a need for connecting individuals involved in cross border trade & investment with China. She’s also working with venture capitalist Dave McClure and others from throughout the mainland United States to bring self-professed “geeks” from here to Hawaii on what will be the inaugural “Geeks on an Island” (now rebranded as [Re]Think Hawaii). Christine has done right by my book by simply being the connection between people and helping all parties grow stronger.

Drew Olanoff

Gnomedex 9 - Drew OlanoffHow can you talk about service to others without mentioning Drew Olanoff. If you haven’t heard his story, then you’re missing out on what has become one of the most talked about social media stories of 2009. That’s alright. You can #BlameDrewsCancer. That’s right. Drew has cancer.

But that hasn’t got Drew down on his luck. No. Rather, Drew has decided to focus on helping eliminate cancer once and for all. He is raising money to help fight the disease and has even got prominent cyclist Lance Armstrong to support him. Drew recently hosted a 24-hour Blame-A-Thon live from Philadelphia to raise awareness and funds to help in his fight and now we all know that there’s a human side to this disease. We all have been affected by this terrible plague on society, either directly or indirectly, but it can be beaten. Drew is out to prove that. Let’s just blame Drew’s cancer.

Geoff Livingston

SNCR 2009 - Geoff LivingstonGeoff Livingston is one of the first people I’ve thought about when someone mentions “service”. He’s not one of those tree-hugging hippies that will be all preachy about environmental or societal issues. Rather, he’s an advocate for global change, whether it’s saving the earth by changing our country’s behavior or attitude towards the environment or to help raise funds and promote social good, Geoff is definitely a good person to know and has always put others ahead of himself. The community is better off having him fight for their cause.

TMS Ruge

I first met TMS Ruge at South by Southwest and have known him to be an excellent photographer. What has surprised me and which I think is really cool is that he’s a fierce advocate for Africa. I believe his cause is to motivate the African Diaspora to invest in sustainable businesses in Africa. He’s giving back and has done a great job in that outreach. His tweets are all inspiring tales and reality checks in what’s happening on that continent and how people can get involved to help others in need.

Beth Kanter

How can you not talk about social good without mentioning Beth Kanter? She is probably one of the people I can think about that has been cited by most business books when they talk about how to use social media and the web to help benefit charities and those less fortunate. She’s even mentioned in Shel Israel’s new book Twitterville and just this one passage should tell you why you need to care about who Beth Kanter really is:

In July 2007, Beth Kanter, a well-known nonprofit activist and social media evangelist, was invited to visit Cambodia to deliver a keynote speech…and then lead a series of 14 workshops to teach social media to 1,700 Cambodian students…

Kanter had visited the country frequently over the previous 15 year…worked on behalf of several nonprofits, teaching them how online communications tools can help raise awareness and funds, In 2000 she adopted two Cambodian children.

As part of this story, Beth helped raise money to help bring t-shirts to the students and even managed to fundraise for money to help pay for a Cambodian girl’s junior year in college (~USD$1000). I highly recommend you follow Beth for insight, wisdom and a truly awesome experience on how you can help those in your community and abroad.

Cathy Brooks

Sarah Austin in SF Tweetup - Truman & Cathy BrooksCathy Brooks is a journalist and a great communicator and collaborator. She’s much more than that, but one thing for sure is that she’s passionate…for equality. She’s a staunch supporter of the No on Prop 8 campaign and is fighting with the rest of the community to repeal such inequality that exists amongst many of our fellow friends and family members. A constant beacon of hope, Cathy Brooks will always surprise you with humor, action and dedication. That’s why she rocks…and the community thanks her for it.

You want to know more about #FollowFriday and who other people are recommending? Then check out this great site created by Micah Baldwin.