October is Breast Cancer Awareness month, and already Cancer Awareness is a top trending topic on Twitter worldwide. When you think of breast cancer activism, pink ribbon shaped cookies and the Race for the Cure might be the first things to come to mind — now, Twitter might be poised to illuminate a variety of worthwhile topics that relate to support and research for this disease. Here are five reasons why tweets are actually useful tools for breast cancer awareness both this month and year-round.
1. You can see who is actually involved.
You know all of those celebrities on commercials, advertising on behalf of causes and also on behalf of themselves? The equivalent of Jennifer Aniston speaking for St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital happens everywhere on Twitter, constantly. You have only to glimpse at the Twitter page for cancer awareness to see high-profile people who are involved in the cause. You’re likely to see entertainment celebrities like Kim Kardashian tweeting, replying, and retweeting about awareness month, but even seeing your local mayor supporting cancer research via Twitter increases your appreciation for the fight. Without Twitter, it’s much less likely you would know that President Obama made a formal statement about October as breast cancer awareness month, via ObamaNews.
But when you’re just looking at your home page feed and not any kind of breast cancer hashtag, the tweets you see from people you know and care about might mean even more. If your close friend or mentor is tweeting about breast cancer awareness, you’re much more likely to care and get involved too.
2. Media content informs you better.
All of the new buzz about Twitter’s huge overhaul — at first a huge secret — may have some people thinking about whether their new focus on media content is valuable. In the case of getting the word out about breast cancer, easy access video content of an inspiring race for the cure or audio clip of a survivor’s speech or diagram of how to do a monthly self exam could really spread useful information efficiently.
3. You get constant updates.
Besides the type of information that Twitter has the ability to deliver, microblogging also provides a constant stream of updates. Single days or weeks that are devoted to causes are able to generate a lot of buzz because they are so focused. When you have an entire month, it’s easy to lose steam by say, October 20th. Even having something as random as this Twitter update about a pink bridge in New York City could remind you of the momentum of the breast cancer campaign during a random point in the month.
4. Tweets link people into action.
Of course October is about spreading awareness about breast cancer, but there is also the deep hope that awareness will lead to action. For the people who don’t know exactly how to take that action, Twitter makes that a lot easier. The #fightbreastcancer hashtag is a good place to start for links that help you take action. Sign-ups for the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure, for example, are advertised well on Twitter, making it easier for people to navigate the registration process.
5. You can join the conversation.
You can stare at your Twitter home page all you want, but it’s often more fun to actually join the social media frenzy and post a reply, retweet, or original message. Breast cancer survivorship creates communities and networks of people who support each other and work to find a cure — and Twitter is excellent at engaging millions in a global conversation about how to do that best. For those who don’t want the commitment or discomfort of physically attending a support group meeting, who don’t have the time to go to a rally, or who don’t feel like writing a multi-paragraph blog post about it, short responses via Twitter are a great way to connect.
After all, the key to moving forward on an issue is usually communication. Twitter has developed a simple, effective way for people to communicate with each other, so there’s a lot of potential for it’s usefulness for this month and the battle with breast cancer.