The dangers of social media have been tackled head on in recent years by organisations including Get Safe Online, with responsible online behaviour even becoming a component of the National Curriculum. Amidst concerns about cyberbullying, hacking and ‘trolls’, it is easy to forget about the benefits of platforms with worldwide reach.
However, so far this year, the media has been awash with heart-warming successes such as those of Kate Granger, who has led the way towards more compassionate and personalised healthcare with her #HelloMyNameIs campaign. A doctor, but also a terminally ill cancer patient, Kate observed that many NHS staff simply did not introduce themselves before delivering care and as a result missed out on making a valuable human connection with patients.
Since launching the hashtag, the campaign has received an overwhelming response from NHS staff and politicians as well as patients across the UK, and boasts over 75 million ‘impressions’. Kate has been pictured with the First Minister of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon, and received a personal tweet from Prime Minister David Cameron. Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has said: “This is an inspiring campaign. All patients should be treated with compassion, and the fact this movement has started from within the NHS itself makes it all the more powerful.”
The victory of enterprising beautician Katie Cutler’s online appeal to raise money for pensioner Alan Barnes was described this month as a ‘testament to the power of the internet and social media’ by the Daily Mail. In four days, more than 20,000 donations were made via GoFundMe (a fundraising platform which also uses Facebook to generate ‘shares’) from all over the world – from New Zealand, the USA, South Africa and Canada.
Katie Cutler has been nicknamed the ‘Angel of the North’, and the appeal goes to show that greater connectivity through social media can lead to real triumphs of compassion.