Can Social Media Save Your Life?

This post is part of a year-end series by MBA students at California College of the Arts’ Design MBA Program. Read more about our annual partnership here.

By John Intrater

Facebook and Twitter. At this point, just about everyone has used one of these two applications in their life. However, the most significant feature isn’t the Scrabble Facebook game or re tweeting a link to your friends band. One of these social media applications might be your best remedy in a life-threatening situation.

In July 2010, tri-athlete Leigh Fazzina who was competing at the time, fell off her bike in a remote Connecticut trail. Seriously injured and lost, Leigh turned to her phone and tweeted “I’ve had a serious injury and NEED help! Can someone please call Winding Trails in Farmington, CT tell them I’m stuck bike crash in woods.” In just a few minutes several people saw her message, called for help and had Leigh rescued.

As many have experienced before, not all areas of the country receive the best cell phone service. Sometimes the call never properly connects or drops out right as you begin to talk. While this poor connection can stop you from making a phone call and text messages are limited to only a few individuals at a time, using a social media application can reach the largest audience in one simple 160-character sentence. When posting to a public space like Twitter, you never know who will see the message and lend a helping hand. And in such a time of crisis, there is no time to waste.

In August 2010, New Brunswick, Canada, a family brought their toddler on a hike only to notice her eat some unidentifiable berries on from a bush. Worried that she might have eaten something hazardous, the couple called poison control and was hoping to send them an image of the specific berry from their cell phone camera. Unfortunately, due to restrictive email settings, Poison Control noted that they would be unable to receive emails with images attached. Time was ticking away. However after posting the picture on Twitter to over 3,000 followers, they instantly received several responses identifying the berry, which was in fact poisonous. Because of this help, they were not only able to call 911 but save their child’s life by letting the emergency crew know which berry she swallowed.

The boundaries of social networking have been expanded and people, websites and companies alike have discovered Twitter and facebook as ultimate tools to reach the masses. Some use Twitter as an unparalleled stream of information, following @breakingnews- the latest breaking news alerts from around the world from hundreds of sources. Others choose Facebook to simply check out pictures people post from their recent honeymoon in Africa. Regardless of its use, what once started as a vehicle to update your social network, seems to have outgrown itself, and has become one of the most powerful venues in the world.

Now follow this expanded application to CCA’s dMBA program. Traditional MBA’s are out there for all to pursue, but the combination of discovering creative avenues of presenting and expanding the traditional business models could be the future of business.

Just as in a time of crisis or emergency, social media applications might be the best option to save your life!

(image brought to you by digital surgeons,

These articles were created as part of the course work for “Live Exchange” the foundational course on communication for The MBA Design Strategy Program at California College of the Arts. Read more about the project here.

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