Friday, January 15, 2010

New New Media to the Rescue in Haiti

Business Week carries the welcome news that Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube have been playing a major role in getting donations to Haiti.

These social media - or, what I call "new new media" - played major roles in getting information out of Iran in June 2009, and have done the same in Haiti since right after the earthquake. For many broadcast and cable media, the only way of getting video out of Haiti in the day after the earthquake was via Skype, which requires not broadcast tower or even electricity beyond the battery in a mobile phone. That in itself was a revolutionary, crucial event in the coverage of disasters.

But now social media are also helping raise money for Haitian relief - the American Red Cross reports more than $36 million raised through texting. The key advantage of Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube in these desperate circumstances is that potential contributors can be reached anywhere they may be, via alaptop or mobile web device that provides an easy way to contribute via PayPal. As the Business Week article aptly termed it, the result is smaller contributions from many more people than usual.

Natural disasters are facts of life on this planet that can never be completely prevented. But as indicated in Haiti, our newest media are daily, hourly providing better ways of recovering, of helping our planet heal.

Feed Hungry Children in Haiti on Facebook
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