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How can social media and social networking tools help the tooth fairy?

Originally posted by Beth Kanter for the 2006 NCDD Conference… 

I recently discovered a blog by a colleague, Allison Fine, called A. Fine Blog. Her focus is on “the ways that digital tools, particularly social media, are enhancing our connectedness to one another and our ability and willingness to work for the collective social good.” Her forthcoming book Momentum: IgnitingSocial Change in the Connected Age takes an indepth look at the topic.

One of her entries, “The Softer Side of Social Media” shares the story of how a friend set up an email account for her niece to email the tooth fairy. Sometimes it is very useful to have fun examples of new technology when introducing it to people — it made want to play with the idea — social media and the tooth fairy. A quick search through Flickr resulted in many photos of beautiful, but toothless children, tooth fairy pillows, a pair of tooth fairies from a dental school, notes to the tooth fairy a dog’s visit from the tooth fairy and children’s notes to the tooth fairy like the one depicted in the photograph above. What a great way to celebrate the myth with your child!

And, if you search through delicious, a social bookmarking service, you will turn up some interesting bookmarks that give you some dental tips, backgroundan online service that facilitates communication between your child and the tooth fairy, and a critical thinking exercise that debunks this popular childhood myth.

When my son, who was born in Cambodia, lost his tooth, I turned to social media to help him learn about Cambodia customs. With the help of Cambodian bloggers who shared some sound files of the khmer word for tooth and a description of tooth customs, we created a one-minute documentary about the Khmer Tooth Fairy: Remixing Cultural Customs Around Loosing a Tooth If social media/networking tools can do that for the tooth fairy, imagine what they can do for your work or organization’s cause?

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Sandy Heierbacher
Sandy Heierbacher co-founded the National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation (NCDD) with Andy Fluke in 2002, with the 60 volunteers and 50 organizations who worked together to plan NCDD’s first national conference. She served as NCDD's Executive Director between 2002 and 2018. Click here for a list of articles and resources authored by Sandy.

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