Social media can be a force for good and for bad. Online bullying is an epidemic which impacts the lives of many people in negative ways. However, sometimes the Internet can be a wonderfully warm and giving place; You just need to send the right Tweet at the right time.
The right Tweet at the right time is exactly what our story today is all about; And how thrilled we are to be bringing our beloved readers a story of Internet positivity, where social media actually did its job right…
When Georgia opened her bookstore it was a radical change from her job working for six years as a Radiographer at Harrogate District Hospital in the U.K. Having been a lifelong lover of books, Georgia was about to do an English Degree when she was at College, but she opted to study radiology instead. But in 2016, all that would change, when she would open her Bookstore in Harrogate; the name she gave it is priceless.
For Georgia, the very idea of opening a bookstore was a strange one and more like a pipedream or a fantasy than anything else. She aptly called the store ‘Imagined Things’ because when she had the idea it seemed like “an impossible imagined thing.” However, that thing soon became a reality…
Harrogate’s first independent bookstore in twenty years proudly opened its doors on 14th July 2017. Located in the stunning Westminister Arcade in the city center, the shop is set in a beautifully quaint location and is also very central for locals and convenient for tourists.
Wide Range of Books
Imagined Things sells an eclectic range of books across many genres for both adults and young children. The store also sells stationery and gifts, but Georgia’s passion for books is what makes her bookstore so special and in many ways unique. It would be social media though that would come to save to the day for Imagined Things…
Maybe it was the slight recession or the fact that so many people buy books online or just download them to their Kindle. Heck, maybe it was the weather; Georgia had no idea why her baby wasn’t even nearly covering its own costs. She had fallen on hard times and found herself in a desperate situation financially and didn’t know what to do.
Georgia was far more into snuggling up at home with a hot cocoa and a good book, and less inclined social media-wise. However, in her desperation, Georgia took to Twitter one Monday, confirming that she had taken a measly £12.34 ($15) that day.
Georgia Duffy’s Tweet spoke for itself, “We only took £12.34 today…if anyone was thinking about buying a book now would be a great time! Things have been tough recently – today the worst day ever. A card, a book, anything makes a huge difference to a small business like ours. We’d be very grateful for your support.”
A Little Cheeky
Georgia is the polite British type by all accounts and felt uncomfortable reaching out in that way on Twitter. However, as the saying goes: ‘Needs must,’ so Georgia didn’t obsess over it too much, thinking it would get lost somewhere in the Twittersphere in any event…
Quite the opposite of what Georgia expected actually happened when her Tweet received a “phenomenal response.” That lone Tweet was retweeted more than 2,000 times as locals clamored to help Georgia in her plight.
One such book lover, Hannah, tweeted, “I went to Harrogate for my “treat yo’self” day this year & spent a lot of time in this lovely bookstore. Thought it was wonderful. You really should go & buy something if you’re visiting/live in Harrogate!” Showing Georgia that she wasn’t alone in her fight…
Yet another Twitter user, known as @patart69, also backed the bookstore, “I stand behind the counter of an independent shop at midnight I feel your pain. Too many people buying online and wanting stuff cheap. Too few supporting locals. They’ll miss us when we are gone.” They wrote.
Didn’t Expect This!
Georgia was touched and moved by the response and support she received. A few days later and she felt the need to take to Twitter once again sending out, “the biggest thank you to everyone who has supported us so far.” Shocked by the, “Absolutely phenomenal response on here everyone. Didn’t expect this at all!”…
Georgia was in shock by this stage as people from far and wide began ordering books from her online store: “Thank you so much, everyone, for all your support and messages. We’re utterly overwhelmed & can’t keep up! If we’ve missed anyone we’re really sorry! Please DM or email [email protected] or ring us if you’d like a response/for an order. We’ll get through them ASAP.” She Tweeted
The truth of it is that Georgia only had a few weeks left to even consider staying afloat and keeping her bookshop open; things were that bad. The relief she felt from the surge in sales was something she couldn’t keep to herself…
“Can’t Believe It”
Georgia said, “I can’t believe it, I never expected it. I am still going through all the orders. It has been pretty dreadful over the last few weeks. I have been worried about the shop because we are still quite new and we are building it up. I thought, ‘this can’t carry on’.”
In Two Minds
Georgia was really in two minds when it came to reaching out in the first place, “I was in two minds about the tweet because you can’t read the tone online but I thought it may encourage people who are thinking of visiting us to come in,” she said, adding, “By the time I went to bed yesterday my tweet had got 157,000 impressions on Twitter. We got 1,000 followers overnight and it had taken us a year just to build up 900 before that…
For the time being Georgia hasn’t had the money to invest in a sophisticated online platform to sell her books on. She has, for the most part, been taking orders by email and by telephone, and has even been a little overwhelmed. As Georgia explained…
Georgia hopes very much that the recent spike in sales will be a long-term thing and that word of mouth will carry her through if she faces hard times again, “We’ve had people getting in touch on Twitter, coming into the shop, calling through for books even from people who live far away. We are looking at an online shop but it will be a limited selection and it is expensive to run.” She said…
Making A Difference
Georgia continued, “Hopefully this will be the start of people knowing us better,” she said. “I hope it will encourage people to think about other independent bookshops and indie shops in general and all the costs we face to run. Even just spending a few pounds makes a huge difference. I want people to know that they can make a difference to their local shop.”
You see what social media can do if used in the right way, for positive things in order to help people? It’s astonishing to think just how many of us surf Facebook and Instagram, sometimes mindlessly and never actually use those platforms for anything especially useful. The story of Imagined Things is a tribute to the true power of the “tree of good and evil” that is the world wide web.