March 04, 2010

A Cancer Patient's Social-Media Crusade

Drew Olanoff has used Twitter and other social-media tools to raise awareness about and money for the fight against cancer.

When Drew Olanoff learned that he had cancer in May 2009, he could have easily decided to battle his disease privately.

Instead, the 29-year-old decided to wage a public crusade against cancer using social-media tools such as Twitter.

Mr. Olanoff has been encouraging people who use Twitter to blame his cancer for the troubles in their lives.

Late for work? Upset that your team lost the big game? Stuck in traffic? Blame Drew's cancer.

The "Blame Drew's Cancer" effort has since spawned news stories and fund-raising campaigns and has drawn the attention of high-profile celebrities such as Lance Armstrong and Drew Carey.

Allison Fine, the host of Social Good, talks with Mr. Olanoff about the Blame Drew's Cancer campaign and discusses why his effort has become a case study for how ordinary citizens can raise large sums and significant attention for a cause.

Allison Fine, a nonprofit leader and expert on technology and communications, discusses how charities and foundations can more effectively use social-media tools to spread their messages and raise money. Ms. Fine will incorporate suggestions and questions from readers into her podcasts and invites you to send e-mail messages to her at Look for new installments on the first Thursday of every month.