Social Media Roundup: Digg gets a makeover, the MLB gets hacked, and Arijit Guha gets health coverage
Sun Aug, 2012 by Digital Bus
1. Meet the new Digg
After two years of “plummeting usage,” social news website Digg announced in early July that the site would be rebuilt—from scratch—with the new Digg design to be heavily informed by the input of existing Digg users. The brand new Digg was revealed Tuesday, one day ahead of schedule:
The new Digg features top, popular, and upcoming stories, increased support for sharing content to other social platforms, and a heck of a lot more pictures. The push toward a more image-centric network comes hot on the heels of major redesigns from social giants Facebook and Google+, part of what many are calling social media’s visual revolution.
But although Digg’s new homepage is refreshingly simple and visually compelling, the new Digg has encouraged major criticism because of the decision to give a staff of editors control of story moderation on the homepage, rather than aggregating news based on the votes of Digg’s own user community. This new editorially-driven homepage has some questioning whether or not the new Digg is truly “social” news.
2. Several MLB teams hacked
In an incident that amused me far too greatly, several Major League Baseball teams’ Facebook pages were hacked briefly on Thursday afternoon, leading to several amusing (and obviously bogus) status updates.
“For a brief moment today, a few MLB Club Facebook accounts were hacked and inappropriate material was briefly on display,” the MLB said in a statement following the incident. At last count, nine teams were affected, including the Chicago Cubs, the San Francisco Giants, and the New York Yankees. Thankfully, the Detroit Tigers were spared.
Hackers say the darndest things.
3. Arijit Guha: The face of the “Poop Strong” campaign
31-year-old PhD student Arijit Guha is fighting Stage IV colon cancer. He was also told in February by his student healthcare provider, Aetna, that he’d reached the $300,000 lifetime cap on his insurance plan due to multiple hospitalizations, numerous surgeries, and ongoing chemotherapy, leaving Guha with $118,000 in unpaid medical bills.
According to the federal Department of Health and Human Services, more than a million students are covered through college health plans. Guha, faced with the injustice of a limited lifetime cap, set out to change the face of student healthcare as we know it—and he used social media to do it.
In a self-declared “war on potential medical bankruptcy,” Guha, under the Twitter handle @Poop_Strong, began garnering support. After Guha tweeted his frustrations about Aetna’s decision to end his coverage despite ongoing cancer treatments, Aetna chief executive Mark Bertolini joined the conversation from his personal account, @mtbert.
This, frankly, amazes me. On no other platform could a 31-year-old PhD student goad a direct response from a major insurance company’s chief executive—and not only did Bertolini respond, he continued the conversation, engaging Guha in a fairly lengthy debate and ultimately, remarkably, he called Guha directly and agreed to pay “every last penny” of his outstanding $118,000 in medical costs.
“The system is broken,” Bertolini tweeted. “And I am committed to fixing it.” Aetna will now offer a student plan for the 2012-13 year with no lifetime cap and a $2 million annual cap, which the Affordable Care Act will eventually void.
Guha exemplified the sort of positive impact a well-executed social media campaign can have on our world. It’s certainly an impressive feat for any one individual to have such a tremendous influence on a major insurance company—and as a social media fanatic, I’m utterly thrilled that Twitter was the vehicle Guha found best-suited to making such a monumental impression. You go, Guha.