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December 10, 2012
Nancy is the Project Manager at the Family Online Safety Institute.
At the Family Online Safety Institute, we regularly hear remarkable stories about social media being used to help others.
One of the first stories I heard when I began working in this field involved a teenage girl in Maryland who is a true hero. The girl received a message on her Facebook account from a boy in England, whom she only knew online. The message, while not explicit, led the girl to believe he might be distraught and suicidal. She reported her concern to her parents, who were also heroic by taking their daughter’s concern seriously. The parents alerted authorities in the U.S. who reached out to police in the U.K.
Despite only having limited information about the boy’s identity (his first name and the name of the town he went to school), police located the boy and found him unconscious from a drug over dose. Fortunately, help arrived in time to save him.
More recently, I heard about another amazing story. In October, Wincey Willis, used her Twitter account (@WinceyWillis1) to ask her followers for help. Ms. Willis was concerned about a long-distance, elderly friend. Ms. Willis tweeted that her friend’s phone had perpetually busy and she couldn’t reach her. One follower responded that he knew someone who lived near Ms. Willis’s friend and was willing to check on her.
Happily, this story has a great ending. It turns out, Ms. Willis’s friend had unknowingly left her phone off the hook. Ms. Willis’s final tweets after this incident say it all:
“Thank you so much what a relief ........the wonder of twitter :-)))”
“Good night all I love twitter ........thank you for what you did today XXXXXXXXXXXXX”
“Thank you twitter for doing only you can. Checking on my friend in her 80's in Glasgow. She is safe. YOU ARE INCREDIBLE XXXXX”
These wonderful stories are a testament to the power and opportunity of social media. Some stories, like the first, are dramatic and life changing. Other stories, like the second, simply show how social media can be used to unite and support each other.
In all, these stories demonstrate that social media allows us to reach out, across borders, oceans and other barriers, to provide help, support and comfort to others. We see A Platform for Good as an opportunity to share these stories and help create more ripples of kindness. We’d love to hear your stories, too!
Tell us how social media has positively affected you in the box below!
Photo credit: AltMuslimah
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