Flix Tuesday, March 17, 2015 - 05:30
| Siddhartha Mishra | The News Minute | March 14, 2015 | 5:46 p.m. IST | Sending out a “blood urgently required” message may be one of the scariest moments of anyone’s life. You hope and pray that someone in the long chain of receivers may match the blood type and be willing to donate in the nick of time.Often on Twitter, Facebook or WhatsApp we come across such forwarded messages and some of us ignore them, doubting the legitimacy of the message. Earlier, someone in need would call the nearest blood bank or friends and relatives for assistance.  Panic may also set in as did in Prashanth’s case whose elder brother was in a car accident at 1 a.m. “Three to four bottles of blood were needed by 8 a.m.”, the 36 year old from Bengaluru told the News Minute. Doctors warned Prashanth that the patient’s arm could have to be amputated if blood was not arranged in time. The multiple fractures in his brother’s arm didn’t help either. “My messages on Twitter started circulating via WhatsApp”, says Prashanth who adds that “people got my number from Twitter screenshot that was doing rounds on WhatsApp”. It is in times like these that a lot of people have turned towards social media to send out requests and The News Minute spoke to such people. “Various avenues like blood banks do exist, but social media has started acting as a mediator”, says Rakesh Kumar of Raipur, who found Twitter coming to his aid after he had posted a request on the social networking site.  “The requirement was for my uncle who had a scheduled bypass and we required donor blood within 24 hours”, says Rakesh. “Close to three four hours after I had sent out messages, calls started coming in for help and they continued calling until night”, he says. The calls he received for help were from unfamiliar numbers and names and the 37 year old from Raipur was more than grateful for the response. “Unknown people and faces turned up to help; people I hadn’t ever met and we got more responses than required”, he says. People also find it easier to send out information faster using their mobile phones than registering on websites which cater to this precise purpose. “It’s easier than typing out your login ID and password which is all very tedious”, says Siddhant who also says that his post on Facebook ensured that “I got a lot of calls.” “AB- is a rare blood type and we required it for my grandmother who had to undergo a surgery”, he says. And since the blood banks didn’t have the required blood type, the 28 year old from Jalandhar turned to social media. Various accounts and pages on social media also do exist that help with finding donors. An organisation called Socialblood, an initiative by Karthik Naralasetty uses Facebook connections to help with the whole process of blood donations.  Twitter handles like @BloodDonorsIn and @indiadonor and several pages on Facebook and WhatsApp groups help with this too. “Yes, now it does help to spread the message whereas earlier it was much difficult”, says Manjunath Reddy of Dr. Shivaji Rao’s Blood Bank, Bengaluru. Reliance on social media alone though, will not be fruitful and Dr. Ankit Mathur from the Rotary TTK Blood Bank, Bengaluru, offers caution. “Blood is available in banks all the time and it is better to call the blood bank first”, he says. The fact does remain though, that almost all of the people TNM spoke to did say that if Facebook and Twitter didn’t directly help, they did play their part. And aside from making the inane go viral, social media does help a lot of us stay connected and has changed lives. Acting as a medium for blood donations for example, is a positive change. Tweet Follow @thenewsminute

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