A few months ago, we saw the power of social media as protests erupted in Egypt.
Google and Twitter quickly came together to create a voice mail system which allowed people to call and their message would automatically be tweeted. According to a Mashable report, the rise of crisis related tweets increased from 122,319 January 16- 23, 2011 to 1,317,233 January 24- 30, 2011.
This past weekend, we started to see again how social media is playing a key role in the disaster relief in Japan.
As of March 13, 2011 Facebook Causes has raised $31,130 from 879 donors and has stated their fundraiser goal as $50,000. (www.allfacebook.com) Facebook also prompted its users to donate through the Red Cross and Save the Children. When donating via Facebook Causes, users have the option of their name and donation amount being posted to the wall. There are also anonymous listings.
Twitter has been a leading force in news updates and donations for the recent earthquake and tsunami. Hash tags such as #PrayForJapan and #JapanEarthquake are being used all over the site so that people can follow and express their thoughts on the tragedy.
After phone lines were knocked out, tweets from Tokyo were topping 1,200 a minute according to Tweet-o-Meter.
The Red Cross is also using Twitter as a platform to inform people how to donate and give updates on where and what they’re doing.
With the use and effectiveness of these outlets, it raises a key question–
Is this how people are going to respond to disasters, and are old tactics such as telethons gone?