Social Media—Could it Save Your Life?

Published May 5, 2009 11:30 am by LoSasso
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The Arizona Republic reports that health-care professionals are considering using social media as a key resource for a new asthma-alert system being developed for the southwestern state.

The alert system would use social-networking sites like Facebook, Twitter and SMS messages to alert asthma sufferers of high levels of particulate pollution in their area — a known trigger of asthma attacks in Arizona.  As it stands now, pollution alerts go out to broad areas, even though the high readings might only apply to specific areas within the broader area. The new asthma-alert system will deliver alerts exclusively to the neighborhoods with high levels of particulate pollution in the air.

In a society where social media plays an increasingly large role in people’s lives, it’s not a bad forum for emergency messages. Using social media will enable Arizona health officials to reach asthma sufferers quickly and efficiently.

Outlets like Twitter allow for real-time streaming that are crucial to this type of alert-system. If Arizona implements this alert-system successfully, it wouldn’t surprise me if other parts of the country begin using social media in this capacity.