This post will further solidify my reputation around the office as a bit of a cat lady, but I can’t resist. Cats have a funny way of making things go viral, and this recent project from the Seattle Children’s Hospital is no exception.
According to CBS, on July 19th the Seattle Children’s Hospital set out to make 16-year-old cancer patient Maga Barzallo Sockemtickem’s day. Maga was confined to her hospital room due to her compromised immune system and missed her cat Merry. Knowing this, the hospital asked their Facebook fans to submit pictures of their own cats to share with Maga.
The request went viral, and the hospital received over 3,000 images of cats, which they decided to turn into the “Cat Immersion Project.” The hospital combined the photos with recorded purring sounds and used sheets and a projector to create a “virtual cat cocoon” for Maga. Check out the video above for her response, which was beyond thrilled.
So what are the takeaways here? Cats are the key ingredient in the recipe for achieving virality. I’m kidding. More seriously, this is a great example of social media done right. Social media works best when the goal is to connect people, asking them to share and express their interests. The hospital recognized this, and turned to Facebook to help Maga connect to the outside world. Even though it wasn’t a focus, the hospital earned great publicity for its efforts. It was genuine, and it was a win for everyone involved.
Next time I hope to find out about this a little sooner - Matt Kipper and I have plenty of good cat pics to share!