While thinking of this piece on social media- what comes to mind immediately is the role it plays in shaping lives positively and how it contributes to tarnishing images. I also thought of some young people who use it as a medium for promoting, viewing and contributing to the distribution of porn videos and pictures.
However, looking at the social media and the role it played in saving Debbie Osarere Idiagbonya from a life threatening breast cancer which is the focus of my piece. Debbie, who happens to be a twitter celebrity, helps bloggers and other people hype their products and services online through re-tweeting and reposting whatsoever they put up on their sites. This totally free gestures borne out of the passion for the social media and helping other people promote what they do, has really endeared her to the hearts of many of her followers on Twitter and Facebook and others social media platforms. As a Medical Student, she does regular routine check-up, but didn’t get to know she has cancer until it got worse before the doctors diagnosed her to have cancer.
She immediately cried out for rescue and declared that she has cancer and would need money for the treatment. As soon as the news of her cancer state featured on the social media, stating that she has breast cancer and needed 6 million naira to travel to the United States of America for operation; the immediate response was like a whirl wind as her teeming followers formed ‘Team Save Debbie’ group which was used as a medium for soliciting funds for her operation abroad. They explored divers’ means of raising funds such as putting her name and account on every social media platform for free will donations, making of a ‘Team Save Debbie’ T-Shirt which was also sold to raise funds.
It became a trend on the social media platforms as different appeals targeted at raising funds for her treatment where constantly made, some even went on calling the attention of government organizations, foundations and individuals to her aid. The interesting thing about the whole of the life saving process embarked upon by these social media users is that they don’t have a one on one relationship with her, yet they championed the cause, other than the fact that she is also a fellow social media user.
Some notable entertainment celebrities and government officials, who were informed about her predicament at that time donated hugely to help meet the 6 million Naira target. Some even took a step further and visited her before she departs to the United States, where she is currently receiving treatments.
My submission therefore, remains that if the present youth especially those using the social media for negative activities should desist from it, because there are a lot of gains in cultivating all the great opportunities the platform creates for effective communication and reaching a wide range of audience, just like it saved Debbie from cancer. You can never say what the social media platform will help you achieve.
By Sunday Obembe