Liz Gannes

Recent Posts by Liz Gannes

Socialblood Taps Facebook to Match Blood Donors and Recipients

A four-month-old project called is already saving lives in India, says its 22-year-old founder, Karthik Naralasetty, who’s at the Techonomy conference in Tucson, Ariz., this week as a winner of the Staples/Ashoka Youth Social Entrepreneur Competition.

Socialblood is quite simple: It’s a Facebook app and a series of eight Facebook groups, one for each blood type. Naralasetty said today he knows of at least 10 donations that happened because people met each other using Socialblood. A man who recently posted asking for blood for his daughter received 74 responses in 24 hours, Naralasetty said.

Naralasetty, who is the founder of a Bangalore-based product design shop called redcode, conceived of Socialblood to expose the personal connection between giving and receiving blood donations.

“For my generation, Facebook is the most powerful thing on the planet. India is a country where 50 percent of the Internet population is on Facebook every other day, so I saw potential to reach them directly and make it fun and easy to act,” he said.

But now that Socialblood is taking off, Naralasetty said, he intends to move the project off Facebook and onto its own service so it can be more flexible. What he wants to do next is match donors and recipients automatically, using their locations.

Naralasetty isn’t the first person to try to use Facebook for blood drives; for instance, an app called Takes All Types launched to do something similar in 2008, but it doesn’t appear to be around anymore.

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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik