Twitter community of Sri Lanka is unique! They have been arranging various community building activities online as well as offline including events such as TweetupSL and Tweeps Iftar. The most recent event of Sri Lankan Twitter community was its blood donation camp, which was named #iDonateLK. Twitter in Sri Lanka is regularly used as a methodology to communicate requests for blood donors where Twitter accounts such as @BloodLK and @BloodNeedSL push updates on urgent blood requests and Tweeps regularly engage in such donations. Taking this practice a step further, few tweeps got together and organised #iDonateLK exclusive blood donation camp for tweeps to donate blood. This event was held on 6th of April 2014 at the National Blood Transfusion Service. This is the very first time the Sri Lankan Twitter community organised such an event, going beyond typical events of networking and fun.
How did it Start?
Like in the case of most the Twitter event, iDonateLK also started simply with a tweet, which was posted by Gayathri Seveneviratne (gsenev).
You lovely Sri Lankan Tweeps, what are your thoughts on organizing a SLTweet Blood Camp? #lka
— Gayathri Seneviratne (@gsenev) February 23, 2014
Proving the point that a simple tweet can do wonders, there were many tweets acknowledging the idea which led to another ‘social media for social good initiative’ by Sri Lankan Twitter community.
Who was behind iDonateLK?
Organising an event of this nature is challenging because all the coordination and communications happen online. But, there were tweeps to accept this challenge and be a part of this great initiate. The team behind iDonateLK include @milindat @MoAwesomeSauce @udithaumesh @SNSalgado @BuduMalli @nisald @Yeheshan @ShafrazKhahir, Vishmi and @gsenev. @dialogLK was the sole sponsor who backed the event financially.
— Johanns Rogers (@rothbourne) April 6, 2014
What Happened at iDonateLK?
Proving the point that social media can be used for social good, there were many Twitter users who made themselves available on that day to donate blood. 44 donors succeeded in donating blood at iDonateLK and there were many who were turned down in the donor filtering process.
The diversity was the most interesting element of iDonateLK where differences such as religion, age, social status and gender did not have any impact on making social good through social media. They all came together as ‘tweeps’ to donate blood and support the needy people.
What do Tweeps Say about iDonateLK?
As I told you before, organizing an event of this nature is challenging and we spoke to the main personality behind to iDonateLK, Gayathri Seneviratne @gsenev on her experience and this is what she had to say:
“I am excited and so extremely happy that we were able to record 50+ donors today. Why it is so is that first, it happened to fall on the day of the finals and promotion of the event was done solely through Twitter. A lot more than 50 turned out but most of them were rejected due to various causes. This meant that not everyone knows a lot of the prerequisites of donating blood and among other plans of having another event of the same caliber, we’re also hoping on building a system to improve this knowledge and awareness among the young people. I also want to thank the team for all their efforts both online and offline. On behalf of the team, I thank all the donors who donated and to everyone else who made an effort to be there.”
Not only the organisers, but also the donors consider this event to be an exciting experience as they were part of a social good initiative. One of the donors of iDonateLK, Udara Dharmasena (@udaraumd) says “It was the first pint of blood I have ever donated. I was not planning to donate yesterday since I’m barely passing the minimum weight required for blood donation. But suddenly I felt like giving and Umesh encouraged me. It’s a great feeling to donate blood and physically I didn’t feel that I have lost 450ml of blood from my system at all. Anyway It was a great effort by the tweeps of Sri Lanka. I’m very happy to be a part of this social good activity.”
— Malli (@BuduMalli) April 6, 2014
There were many first time donors and many were inspired fellow tweeps to donate blood. Sri Lankan Twitter community has embarked on something extra ordinary and this is not the end! The organizing committee of iDonateLK is certain that there will be many more similar events happening in the future. In the time of negatives about social media, Sri Lankan Twitter community has set an example that social media can be used to generate social good, if it is used in the right manner.
For full pics from the blood donation, see our fb album