Cancer Survivors Build Social Network For Social Good


The social Web has a tendency to fold in on itself. Shortly after the launch of Google Plus, for example, users began to complain that it was only being used to talk about Google Plus. Drew Olanoff, currently the community manager for Get Satisfaction, would prefer that social networks revolved around their people instead of themselves. After being diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 2009, Olanoff built his experience into a Web phenomenon that offered connections, support, and some hopeful levity to people affected by cancer. His work is now bolstered by the launch of a new social network called I Had Cancer, which has created an engaging, Web-centric support system for cancer fighters, survivors, and their friends and family.

“Social” is an easy word to throw around these days. Olanoff wishes the Web didn’t take it so lightly. He’d prefer we talk about social good or social reform, rather than social media. “I don’t know what the phrase ‘social media’ means anymore,” he says. “I don’t think anybody does. I’ve always felt that what was missing [from that phrase] is the social part. The human aspect of it is severely lacking.”

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