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Social Media is Saving Lives & Raising Awareness

Has social media proved itself beneficial to your business? What if it actually saved your life or the lives of your children? Would you be a believer then?

Haiti Earthquake

We heard plenty of stories after the earthquake in Haiti last year of survivors under the rubble tweeting their locations, pleading for rescue. We may have even seen a few of the Facebook fan sites that sprang up in order to help direct rescuers to the most needed locations such as the Hotel Montana, a bit away from the epicenter but still desperately in need of help.

Many participants on both of these social networks also actively helped with the recovery effort by following and reporting request for supplies such as much needed first aid, food, and water to the Red Cross and other organizations that were headed into the devastation zone.

There can also be no doubt that Haiti also received an incredible amount of donations for their recovery by users on Twitter and Facebook who simply provided the information on how to donate quickly.

Japan Earthquake and Tsunami

The tragic earthquake and its subsequent tsunami that leveled large parts of Japan’s coastline earlier this year was also a widespread and viral topic on social media networks from the moment the news reports came rolling in.

Users on Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare and other social networking sites played major roles in more early warning systems, sharing information, reuniting family members, and the much needed donation gathering.

As their infrastructure began to fail and TV stations were knocked out, many of the people of Japan took to the social media networks to get their information, news, and knowledge of what was going on with the rescue efforts.

Some even used Twitter to advertise their safe locations, inviting others to join them. Hiroshi Matsuyama of CyberConnect advertised his safe zone on Twitter by tweeting that they had television, some food, and beverages. He gave his location, stated he had room for around thirty people and asked that others who needed help to reply via Twitter, the only means of communication he found he could rely on. 

Residents of Japan utilized Twitter, Facebook, Foursquare, and more to locate loved ones and shelters that were opening in affected areas.

So while there are a wide variety of technologies that can help to help us isolate ourselves from our fellow human beings, social media tools have absolutely shown their capacity for uniting us and bringing out the empathetic aspects of human nature.

It seems Japan and it’s unfortunate tragedy has only concreted the idea that a friend or follower in need can inspire true acts of generosity, empathy, and honor, something many find lacking in our daily dealings with those that we do deal with, even face-to-face.

The Good Fight

It doesn’t always have to be an immense tragedy to gather the attention of those who may help. Sometimes, it may only be a personal one.

For many Leukemia patients, the only cure available is the transplant of bone marrow from a matching donor. Finding a donor though has been a huge source of frustration and disappointment for those who are suffering, or those who have to watch a loved one do so. The highest probability for those sufferers is finding a donor in their same ethnic pool.

Caucasians in this situation can count themselves the luckiest, as 80% of them will be able to find a matching donor listed on the National Marrow Donor Program registry. However, of the 6.8 million registered, 20% are minorities and a meager 1% of those listed are South Asian. So for South Asians who are facing this type of personal devastation, the odds on finding a matching donor are pitifully low. To compound matters, many countries, like India, with a population of over one billion people, there is simply no registry at all. 

For those unfortunate sufferers, options were nil. That is, until social networks became an option. Now those who are unable to take advantage of opportunities to heal that may be available in some countries but not others, have an outlet.

Social media can provide those seeking help and their loved ones with the infrastructure to begin looking for options in previously unconventional methods. Enacting strategies that include building instant awareness and coupling it with mass micro-mobilization. This allows those who may have previously been voiceless, to grab the attention of the media, engage their viewers with videos and photos, powerful story-telling and blogging, and then to take action, whether it is in the form of a bone marrow drive, build a concerned community, and network possibly life-saving options.

Business and Charity Awareness

Sometimes little things can make a big difference, take the small change that Petri Plumbing and Heating made in June 2011. The company had offered a variety of coupons for discounts for various reasons, traditionally it was for unions, teachers, military etc. Then in June Petri Plumbing took their Facebook page and added entire tab dedicated to raising money for “Make A Wish” of Metro NY.

“We already donate to a bunch of charities as individuals in the community and as a business, this seemed like a great way to increase awareness about the cause… at the end of the day both my customers and my staff feel good about ourselves…we’re doing something more than just helping ourselves” Mike Petri

Petri Plumbing currently offers a 10% discount on work, if you make a donation to the Make A Wish foundation of metro NY. Clearly this is using social media for a higher social cause.

Sources:

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Comments

  1. This information is all you ever need to become successful marketing your business on Facebook. Great information and helpful tips. I look forward to making mybusiness work thanks to Mr. Goldfarb.

  2. I agree. Since Facebook has been very viral (and Twitter, too), people have been raising awareness against violence and crime. I would comment on the efforts of awareness in animal abuse. A lot have been using social media to stop these people and it has so far been successful on its campaign.

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