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11 September 2019updated 07 Sep 2021 10:18am

Social media can be a force for good

Social media can be a force for good

By Beth Miller

I wore yellow on Friday, and so did thousands of people across the country, and the world.

That’s because Friday was a day to show solidarity to a little boy from my hometown called Seth Lane. Seth is five, he loves Fireman Sam, and his favourite colour is yellow.

He also has a rare condition called Severe Combined Immune Deficiency (SCID) that means his immune system doesn’t work, and because of this he has to stay in a sterile, germ- free room, unable to interact with the outside world.

He had a bone marrow transplant in 2010 to try to overcome this condition and until his readmission in February had been able to attend a nursery and make friends. However, now he is back in hospital and needs another transplant.

Despite the best efforts of his family and nurses, Seth, as anyone would, can get lonely and bored stuck in the sterile room. In an effort to show Seth that he is not alone his parents launched #WearYellowForSeth day (here’s how Seth launched the campaign, https://youtu.be/b9XnulcfPZ4), it was a chance for people all over the world to wear his favourite colour to show solidarity. People were encouraged to use the hashtag on social media and his parents would then print the pictures to decorate his room so he could see just how many people care. The results were amazing; thousands of people tweeted, posted pictures on Instagram and shared on Facebook, here’s some of the best bits:

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It goes to show the power of social media, it’s been said time and time again but the opportunities available to raise awareness and build positive networks are limitless. Of course there is the risk of campaign overload with bandwagoning, but when you see how a a little boy and his mum from a small town in the East Midlands can raise so much awareness in the space of a few days it really does make you think. And this wasn’t about donations and money, it was about solidarity.

Hopefully last Friday will have raised Seth’s spirits, both he and his family should know that their campaign didn’t just help them, it also brightened the Friday of thousands of people and specifically brought the town together in a way I’ve never seen before. If web 2.0 is about user interaction, this campaign nailed it.

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