Harnessing the power of social media to #beatcancer

October 20, 2009 by  
Filed under CANCER

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beatcancerRemember the post I had a couple of months back on how the Internet is spreading health news? Well, this was recently demonstrated by the #beatcancer campaign whose aim was to get into the Guinness Book of World Record as the most number of social media messages in a span of 24 hours. The campaign achieved started on October 16 at 9 am PDT and ended at the same time the following day with a total of 209,771 social messages. But before we continue, let us first try to define social media. Can we? We can only try except that there are too many definitions out there. My favorite definition is from bottlepr which says that social media are:

“…software tools that allow groups to generate content and engage in peer-to-peer conversations and exchange of content.”

Examples of social media tools are YouTube, Flickr, Facebook, MySpace, Friendster, Twitter, etc. but there are many more.

Now the #beatcancer campaign did not go for all of these but only for the two most popular ones – twitter and facebook. When I logged in to my twitter account on October 17, I got a message that says there are too many tweets coming, thus I’d have to wait for a moment. That was the first time ever that I got such a message.

So who’s behind the campaign?

“#BeatCancer is a social media experiment and movement created by Everywhere, a social media communications and content company based in Atlanta, Georgia. [The purpose is] …to see if they could compete to set a record for the distribution of the largest mass message through social media.”

But it wasn’t just any other social media publicity stunt. It was for the benefit of a social cause, a cancer that everybody knows – battling cancer.

For every tweet, Facebook update, or blog post mentioning “#beatcancer”, corporate sponsors Ebay/Paypal and MillerCoors Brewing Company donated a penny to the cause.

The beneficiaries are four non-profit organizations accredited by The American Cancer Society, and are listed below:

  • Stand Up To Cancer is a new initiative created to accelerate groundbreaking cancer research, getting new therapies to patients quickly and saving lives.
  • Alex’s Lemonade Stand’s mission is to raise money and awareness of childhood cancer causes and educate others, especially children, to raise money for childhood cancer by holding their own lemonade stands.
  • Bright Pink is a national non-profit organization that provides education and support to young women who are at high risk for breast and ovarian cancer.
  • Spirit Jump is a grassroots non-profit organization with a mission to provide hope and comfort to the many men, women and children battling cancer.

The record has been set but the campaign in not over. Check out the #beatcancer site to see how you can help.

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