Project Scleroderma | Social Media Impact
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Social Media Impact

I think we can all agree that social media has greatly impacted the ways in which we interact with each other on a daily basis. As the prevalence of this new phenomenon in communication continues to rise, it is becoming increasingly more apparent that social media tools can be used in powerfully positive ways.

This concept is certainly not lost on our Project Scleroderma team. We are excited to be a part of this next wave of technology and are eager to take advantage of a new vehicle to raise awareness. When we reached out to patients on Facebook and Twitter it became evident that our grassroots project suddenly had the potential for a much farther reach than we had initially anticipated. Patients from all over the world began to email us and share their stories about living with Scleroderma. If I am being honest, I was initially a bit overwhelmed and surprised by the responses we were getting. I had no idea that this was a global issue. Being that I had never heard of the disease when my mom was diagnosed, I could not imagine that a disease so seemingly under-the-radar was affecting this many people all over the world. To me this knowledge was all the more reason to get behind this cause and try to make a difference.

Although not able to travel to the countries where these patient’s live, we knew there had to be a way to allow the global patients to share their stories in our film. My partners in this project, New Pace Productions, came up with the idea to send a small video camera around the world, which will allow the participants to record their own piece of the story. This is yet another great example of the powerful impact technology has on our ability to communicate with each other. Without social media this layer of the story could possibly have not been told. These particular patients would have no idea about our project and, likewise, we would have no idea that they were out there ready and willing to share in our passion for awareness. It’s a beautiful thing really.

A great example of how social media has created a new avenue for fundraising is the “Zamboanga Funds for Little Kids”. An online article from USA Today posted in May of 2011 reads:

Jay Jaboneta attended a blogging summit in Zamboagna City, Phillippines. While at the summit, Jaboneta heard a story about a group of children who were swimming a half a mile each day just to attend school. The story moved him so much that he posted an update on his Facebook wall that night. Almost immediately, one of his friends started an online fundraising campaign among friends, and in less than a week, the “Zamboagna Fund for Little Kids” campaign had raised $1,614.39.

Stories such as this are becoming more and more common; so common that sites such as Indiegogo.com were created. Indiegogo.com is a site that serves as a platform to help support creative fundraising campaigns just like ours. Even though $30,000 in 35 days may seem like a far stretch, our team is confident that this social media approach will allow us to connect with enough supporters who will help us reach the necessary tipping point required to fund the documentary. We are so grateful for the support we have received thus far from all of our online followers and we know that without these social media outlets our goal would be far more difficult to achieve. Thank you to each and every person who has supported this project in the past few months. This is just the beginning of an exciting new approach to awareness and we are happy to have you along for the ride!

Christy
rachel@missmerkledesign.com
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