When social media is meaningful

Bambi Francisco Roizen · September 9, 2008 · Short URL: https://vator.tv/n/3f9

A community of Farkers rally around a cause

 When total strangers rally around a cause, it makes the whole idea of social media actually matter. Recently, a man named Joe wrote a post titled "My son needs your help" in the forum section of Scout.com. The post was a plea for this man's son, who was diagnosed with a rare form of brain cancer. He is seeking to raise $100,000.

The post said this: 

"As many of you know my son has been diagnosed with a very rare form of brain cancer. This is something that has devastated and displaced my family (my wife and I have 3 kids). We were supposed to go to New York City for a treatment that would help him. But we hit a snag. Our insurance will not pay for the treatment and the hospital will not take us now since the insurance will not pay for it. The cost of the treatment is $100,000. This is something that is far beyond what I or my family can afford. But I will do anything to get my son the treatment he so desperately needs. This treatment has shown promise and can extend my son's life. So my wife and I are asking you for help. Our goal is to get 100,000 people to donate at least a dollar. That will help us get our son the treatment that he needs."

Being a skeptic, I have a difficult time believing in the veracity of such posts. But the post was linked to Fark.com, a news aggregation site, with a tight-knit group of editors who keep a watchful eye on what's posted among the thousands of submissions they receive each day. 

Joe's piece was linked to on Fark, with the headline "Farker Joe8122's son needs your help." It was linked to on Tuesday, and by the end of the day, there were already more than 1200 comments on Fark.

The replies ranged from "You got my 5 bux," to ""$5 on the way, " to "I'm in for 5," to "Why traveling to NY? Of the top Children's Hospitals, none of them are in NY" to "What kind of treatment is this?" to "I'll pray for you."

Reading these comments reminded me of the recent spate of emails my family and extended family and I have had.  In these emails, we discussed my father's health. He's just had a kidney transplant in the Philippines. It was successful, thank God. It was nice to see the family -- our community -- rally around him.

In Joe's case, it's the Farkers rallying to support one of their own.  

To be able to write a story and have it shared among people who care, is a nice use of social media. To be able to reach out to complete strangers who share, not blood, but a mere common interest in news or information, and receive their contribution and prayers, gives meaning to this whole notion of social media.
At the time of this writing, Joe's raised nearly $20,000.  If you have a buck to spare, click here.   


(Image source: Sachendra.wordpress.com)

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Bambi Francisco Roizen

Founder and CEO of Vator, a media and research firm for entrepreneurs and investors; Managing Director of Vator Health Fund; Co-Founder of Invent Health; Author and award-winning journalist.

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