Monday, January 20, 2014

Good in social media

There was some good news I saw today that rode along with some common Internet debunking. And, the evening news had a good news social media story. Both of which show that that it’s possible to be surprised by good news in the most unexpected places.

The first thing originally came up because of the Tweet pictured above (Source). Thomas Lumley, Professor of Biostatistics at the University of Auckland, saw the image and knew something was wrong with it. He detailed them on the StatsChat blog.

All of that is fine, and many bloggers, me included, debunk things we find on the Internet. But then he added this:
“…the StatsChat-relevant aspect of the picture is the dramatic fall in the price of flying over the years. In the 1960s Pan Am used to charge about US$500 for a round-trip from New York to London. Adjusted for inflation, that’s nearly US$4000 now, which would get you a much nicer business-class ticket. In terms of median income the fall in price is even greater, and much greater in terms of the income of the sort of people who used to fly in the 1960s.”
Oddly enough, recently we were talking about what a terrific value for money air travel is these days, despite the well-known hassles. That’s important to a lot of people, but maybe especially to expats. So, what started out as a routine debunking of something on the Internet ended up providing a clear case of how good we have it with relatively inexpensive air travel.

The other story was on TVNZ’s One News tonight (the video may not be viewable outside New Zealand, but the NZ Herald also covered the story). Welsh skydiver Ben Cornick was in an accident at the end of a jump in Fiji and was injured so badly that the doctors there couldn’t help him. He needed to be medevac’d to New Zealand, but his travel insurance didn’t cover accidents.

Enter social media: A Facebook page was set up by his cousin and they raised some $39,000 to help to pay for his care. He faces weeks of recovery and rehab, but he’s intact, and Facebook helped that.

We so often hear about bad things on the Internet, and it can certainly be a place for incredibly bad and boorish (or worse) behaviour, but sometimes there’s still good news—like today’s two completely different examples.

I like that good news can be found in unexpected places.

1 comment:

rogerogreen said...

My good news #2: http://blog.timesunion.com/rogergreen/good-news-from-bad-2/4010/