Linking blood donors, those in need through Twitter

Linking blood donors, those in need through Twitter

Linking blood donors, those in need through Twitter

Lakhs in dire need of blood donors, a social networking giant and a volunteer collective eager to fill the demand-supply gap. Bringing them all together, Twitter on Tuesday launched a unique social initiative hash-tagged #BloodMatters aimed at connecting donors with patients, tweets with action.

Here's how this works: Those in need of blood donation place a request with a tweet to @BloodDonorsIN. The tweet carries their location hashtag, blood type, mobile contact and Twitter handle. Donors/volunteers keen to help follow @BloodDonorsIN and respond or retweet the requests for help.

Twitter, as its India Public Policy head Mahima Kaul says, will support the implementation of an automated response solution to scale the operations of @BloodDonorsIN, currently run by a group of volunteers. The group, Blood Donors India, a voluntary blood donation helpline, is Twitter's first partner for the #BloodMatters initiative.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has estimated that India's annual demand for 12 million units of blood is undersupplied by the available nine million blood units. Acknowledging this reality, Twitter has expanded the reach of the bloodline through Twitter Lite (

Twitter Lite offers a data-friendly mobile web experience accessible to anyone with a smartphone or tablet with a browser. It is optimised for speed with up to 30% faster launch times. Data usage is reduced by up to 70% with data saver mode. On mobile devices, it takes up less than 1MB.

Blood Donors India founder Balu Nayar has been running the blood donation helpline on Twitter since December 2008. Over the past decade, he says, the Twitter handle has garnered over a million followers. "The handle received over 680,000 mentions and more than 11,000 responses to blood donation request tweets in 2017.

"The blood donation request Tweets came from over 40 cities across India with Hyderabad, Chennai, Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru as the top five locations."

Handling the @BloodDonorsIN account since 2013, consultant Arthi Vijay sets aside two hours daily to check blood donation requests. "We refresh the notifications, populate the template and reformat it. We keep a tab on our donors, their apprehensions about donations. We also need to emotionally connect with them and the recepients," she explains.

Delhi-based business professional Gaurav Malhotra had also joined the helpline in 2013. "Once a request came from Mumbai. I made the connections through Twitter. Later, I received a note that said 'Thank you for saving my mom's life.'"

That message strengthened Malhotra's resolve to make many more life-changing connections.