Twitter, and other social media, is often criticized as a time waster and many articles have been written about slactivism, but every day there are amazing connections happening via social media. Whether its organizing revolutions in the Middle East or disaster relief for Japan, social media is being used for social good. One woman in Tennessee will soon have a new kidney thanks to actor and singer Donnie Wahlberg and his 183,000 Twitter followers.
Bobbette Miller lives in Nashville, Tennessee and is waiting for a kidney transplant. A friend posted a blog post about her need for a new kidney, which caught the attention of Wahlberg. He retweeted the link to his fans and that led to a groundswell of support for Miller.
Vanderbilt University Medical Center was flooded with phone calls, which eventually led to six potential matches for Miller. Tests are being conducted on the potential matches and the transplant surgery is planned for June.
Wahlberg told the Boston Herald, “It’s a testament to the value of Twitter when used for more than telling people what one is eating for dinner or using it to sell products by tweeting as an #endorser.”
This isn’t the first time that social media has been used to find donors for life threatening illnesses, whether it’s organ, blood or bone marrow donations. Jennifer Aaker and Andy Smith share a story in The Dragonfly Effect about social media being used to find bone marrow matches for two entrepreneurs in the Silicon Valley. Aaker, who is also a professor at the Haas Center for Public Service at Stanford University, worked with the OpenIDEO project to crowdsource ideas on increasing awareness of the need for bone marrow donations.
Photo credit: Via Flickr by Corey Ann