Donating Blood Twitter Style

February 14, 2011; Source: Wichita Business Journal | Credit is where credit is due, and tip of the hat to the American Red Cross' Midway-Kansas Chapter for its novel approach to getting people to give blood. The group is holding a "bleedup" at its Wichita donor center later this week.

The term "bleedup" is a play on the more common social media phrase, "meetup," where people who exchange messages on Twitter are invited come together for a face-to-face meeting. Like meetups that carry special hashtags along with their invites, the Red Cross is sending out tweets with #bleedup attached. Jennifer Keller, communications manager for the Red Cross' Midway-Kansas chapter, says the idea had been under consideration for a while, but the "tipping point" came when the group felt it had enough followers to merit putting out a call to give blood via Twitter.

All punning aside, the call for donations is coming at a crucial time. A winter storm forced cancellations of several recent blood drives, and now the group is down to only a day and a half supply, which is half the amount they like to keep on hand at all times.—Bruce Trachtenberg