I have a friend who recently got a coveted job at Facebook. We had coffee the other day and talked about how social networking is changing the way we communicate, how people gather information, and how they use information.
After that coffee, I start doing some research on the way Facebook has changed the way we keep in touch with each other, and I found an article written by a woman whose son’s life was literally saved by social networking.
Deborah Copaken Kogan’s son woke up one morning with a rash and a slight fever. She decided to take him into the doctor, to nip what ever it was in the bud. It was Mother’s Day and she was in the pediatrician’s office and out of boredom she snapped a photo of her son and posted it on Facebook with the line "Nothing says Happy Mother's Day quite like a Sunday morning at the pediatrician's."
That first post set off a chain of events that saved her son’s life. Over the next few days, he failed to respond to antibiotics, his fever climbed, his face swelled, and his strep test came back negative (the doctor’s thought it was possibly scarlet fever.) In order to keep her friends abreast of what was happening, she continued to post updates and photos of her son. The responses grew in number, and in concern, until three people, all with different reasons for their hypothesis, urged her to get her son to the emergency room because they all suspected (based on his photos and description of events on Facebook) he had a rare condition called Kawasaki Disease.
He did, indeed, have Kawasaki Disease. Damage to the heart and organs can begin within a week of the first symptoms, and if untreated, could have been fatal. Her son was treated over the next few weeks for the disease, and the related liver damage it caused. During the course of all the diagnosis and care, she was able to keep all the myriad of friends, family, and doctors updated with a single post when there was news to share.
DailyStrength has also changed the lives of some of its members. I know a woman in the infertility community who, after reading the posts of other women with similar symptoms, realized she had undiagnosed PCOS. After seeing an RE, she was put on Metaformin, then was able to conceive and now has a healthy baby.
Within DailyStrength, there is a community of people who are going through the same issues together, and it has provided a support system that never existed before. Social networking has allowed us to affect each other’s lives in ways that I’m guessing not even Mark Zuckerberg imagined.
If you would like to read Deborah Copaken Kogan’s full account of her story click here