Blood Donations via Social Media

November 18th, 2011 by Andrea Bennett

An innovative new platform aims to heal by matching donors on Facebook.

Brought to you by Liberty Mutual's
The Responsibility Project

When Karthik Naralasetty went back home to Bangalore after a few years at Rutgers University, he was shocked by a nearby family’s struggle to secure blood for their 4-year-old daughter’s transfusions. She suffered from a genetic blood disease, and every 25 days the family invested themselves in an exhausting search for a blood donor.

Naralasetty saw an opportunity. The primary reason people didn’t donate blood? “No one asked them,” he told Forbes. Naralasetty knew the need for blood well, and he knew people wanted to donate blood. His goal became finding a way to connect those two groups.

To realize that connection, Naralasetty turned to the medium through which his generation connects: social media. “For my generation, Facebook is the most powerful thing on the planet. India is a country where 50 percent of the Internet population is on Facebook every other day, so I saw potential to reach them directly and make it fun and easy to act,” he told The Wall Street Journal.

Naralasetty founded SocialBlood.org, a social media platform that connects blood donors and recipients through Facebook. It’s a simple platform that contains a series of eight Facebook groups, one for each blood type. You can see an explanation of SocialBlood.org on YouTube.

In the few short months since the site’s July launch, Naralasetty’s platform has saved lives. One family found blood donors for their 3-year-old son’s heart surgery in less than three hours. Another man on SocialBlood.org recently posted asking for blood for his daughter and received 74 responses in 24 hours.

What do you think of SocialBlood.org? Do believe public-health-oriented causes like blood donations belong on sites like Facebook? Post a comment below and tell us what you think.