If you're a touch cynical about the various social media tools out there, and the value of a service like Twitter, I recommend you taking a look at what's going on at David Armano's personal blog - - or his Twitter feed @armano.
If you do you'll a see a man - a normal, flawed (his words :), but well connected man - reaching out to his immediate contacts and asking for help on behalf of someone else that desperately needs it. The plea is honest, open, and heartfelt, and the cause is very close to home (even for me here in Australia). David has reached out to his neighbours and friends (in his digital life) and asked for a hand - not for himself, but for another.
The response has been phenomenal. It's been genuine. It's been built up in donations of $2, $5, $10, $50 and more. It includes offers of books, clothes, furniture. And it's still going.
If you have ever wondered how we might respond to the increasing isolation and anonymisation that comes from high-density city living and the death of the local neighbourhood that flows, then look at this example of how a digital neighbourhood is pulling together to help one of their own.
In Australia we call this 'mateship'. You help out those around you when times are tough. You get through tight times collectively, or not at all. Which is what we're seeing here in a small, but nonetheless grand scale.