About a week ago, former CNN anchor (and current Internet correspondent) Veronica De La Cruz launched a Twitter campaign to try and help save her 27-year-old brother Eric's life. (He is dying from a rare condition and needs a heart transplant to survive.
On Twitter, The Expert picked up on Eric's cause, which in turn sent the issue up the quirky Twitter hierarchy to those who have hundreds of thousands of "followers," i.e., the scale necessary to potentially make a difference in this young man's tragic case.
I promised to update this story when I first wrote about it, and tonight, there is some genuinely good news. Until a couple days ago, very little money had been raised via Twitter on Eric's behalf, according to The Expert. Maybe around $5,000. Probably this was because his sister's initial emphasis was not on raising funds to defray the medical costs but on influencing Congress to intervene and get Eric on the list eligible to receive a heart transplant.
If anyone in the U.S. Senate or House of Representatives has responded to date, I am not aware of it. It is questionable whether any Congressional staffs as yet consider Twitter a priority, since only one in twenty Americans even use the micro-blogging social media service.
But, as the De La Cruz family is learning, then there is the power of rock n roll. Trent Reznor, who is better known as Nine Inch Nails and who is currently on a revival tour, found out about Eric's case and posted via Twitter and the Nin website an offer way too good to refuse.
Donate money to Eric's cause and you can hang out backstage with Nine Inch Nails during their tour. Over the space of about 48 hours, according to my sources as well as posts on Twitter, the group has raised around a quarter million dollars to help Eric's chances of obtaining his heart transplant.
Stay tuned. We will continue to monitor this story as an early indicator of Twitter's power to do good, not necessarily via the old channels of power (Congress) but now, through the much more liberating channel of music.