Just a short note today to talk about Drew’s Cancer. ( I know, not a good plan to start a blog with an external link, but bear with me. All these links will open in a new browser window, if that’s any consolation.)
A few weeks ago Drew Olanoff was diagnosed with Hodgkins Lymphoma. You can read all about the experience on his Tumblr page. So now he’s facing 6 months of chemo, but since the cancer has a record of being 90% curable, he has a good chance of beating it. He decided he needed to attack it mentally as well as medically so he started blaming the cancer for things happening in his life, losing his keys, his team losing a game, stuff like that. A way of berating and offending the cancer. It is a common suggested treatment to visualise an affliction and imagine physically beating it to help contribute to recovery.
He got together with some friends to take the battle with his cancer to the streets, or in this case, to the interwebs, in case others needed someone/something to take the rap for things happening in their lives. He invites you to give his cancer a swift kick, in the easiest way possible. He created a hashtag for the cancer and anyone on twitter can have a whack at his cancer for anything not going right in their day. Something like: I #blamedrewscancer for inspiring me to keep plugging on but also #blamedrewscancer for the current Sydney cold snap! Double-whammy!
He’s teamed up with sponsors who will donate a dollar to two prominent American cancer charities for every participant who tweets with that hashtag in it. The site has been brilliantly designed by 9Astronauts in just a few weeks, maybe only a few days, to great effect. It works well, doesn’t require flash, is very Web 2.0 and is fun. A few minutes after you post your twitter with the hashtag, it pops it onto a placard as if you were at a public demonstration.
It’s great to be able to help Drew feel surrounded by people berating his cancer, but it also is a great view of community and social media in action. The spectrum of tweets are anything from people sincerely wanting to make Drew feel better, not alone, to people pimping their own blogs, events, sites, etc. Although the same person posting repeatedly does not contribute to the charity coffers, it does help spread the word, and add to Drew’s sense of not being alone.
This is what makes open APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) so powerful and exciting. The Twitter API lets anyone tap into the stream of public Twitter messages and find things of interest or collate research about your brand, company, location, interests or pastimes. And not only that but collate it against something else, like how Jonathan Harris did with blogs for We Feel Fine. You are probably familiar with the example of the Google API where you get to collate maps of things of interest to you using their pool of information about the world… or the moon, ..or Mars… Open APIs are one of the knowledge-sharing elements of Web 2.0.
So if you twitter, take a moment today to blame something in your day on Drew’s cancer by using the hashtag #blamedrewscancer.
Oh, BTW: my WordPress threw away my posting this morning so I had to completely rewrite this, and I frikkin’ well blame Drew’s cancer for that too! i.e.:
I #blamedrewscancer for WordPress not saving my post while I was writing this today!
The site: Blame Drews Cancer
The hashtags showing recent posts: #blamedrewscancer