Texting Saves Lives


In a TED talk I recently watched, entitled, “Texting Can Save Lives,” Nancy Lublin CEO of Dosomething.org speaks of the changing patterns in social media, realizing that teens are much more likely to take note of something they receive via text as opposed to opening loads of lengthy email blasts.

Within the year, Dosomething.org has changed their tactics, increasing their influence by 11-fold by sending alerts to teenagers all over the United States about community service projects and organizations that they can participate in to their cell phones. However, Lublin’s social advocacy took an unexpected turn when she actually started receiving text messages back from those teenagers, who divulged stories about self-mutilation, sexual assault, and bigotry. Though the teenagers’ problems differed vastly, they all were seeking the same thing: assurance that there was someone on the other end of their message to hear their plights. And Lublin was there, reading every single one.

As Lublin describes at TED, she wanted to find a way to give a voice to these teenagers, who felt texting was their only outlet for refuge. Lublin is setting up a text-only crisis hotline which will be the first time our society will be able to have a real-time database full of information about everything from rape to depression.

Emma Orlow is 16 years old and from New York City. She has a blog called The Emma Edition and collects pins and postcards. Thanks also to Teenage producer Jacqui Edenbrow for the tip!