Like a coin, Twitter has two faces — one good and one bad!
First, the good. An Arizona State University PhD student battling Stage 4 colorectal cancer was able to successfully use Twitter as a bully pulpit to get a major insurer to pick up his huge medical bills.
According to The Arizona Republic, 31-year-old Arijit Guha had health insurance through Aetna as part of a co-op deal with ASU. But his policy had a lifetime cap of $300,000 on what it would pay for illnesses, which he blew through in about a second.
The issue then became could Arijit secure treatment that would keep him alive since he’s out of coverage?
Arijit took to Twitter and started tweeting at the CEO of Aetna, Mark T. Bertolini, when he was getting the runaround from regular Aetna customer service channels. The CEO is a Twitter guy and started tweeting back, even admitting, “The system is broken, and I am committed to fixing it.”
Now Aetna is re-evaluating the lifetime medical limit caps. And the insurer is paying Arijit’s medical bills! That frees up more than $100,000 that Arijit raised on his own to be donated to cancer research.
Traditional complaint channels didn’t work. Social media did.
On the other hand, Comcast and Twitter have a business deal built around the Olympics. A reporter in Los Angeles was doing some critical tweeting about how Comcast was holding back coverage of Olympic events for 12 or 14 hours in order to put them on during key evening primetime spots to drive ratings.
So Twitter sees these posts and contacts Comcast to tell them which form to fill out so they could shut down the guy’s account. Well, that set off a firestorm. Twitter has a history of being for free speech and has apologized and backed off, even admitting, “We did mess up.”
This shows the power that the Internet is unleashing. It gives you another platform that you can put to work in your life.