By Shachar G. Scott, Strategist @ StrawberryFrog
Inspiration for post: A blogger wrote, "On one side, technology failed Haitians because there was no early warning and thousands perished in a flash, but on the other side it will be modern technology which will save (the) surviving Haitian population to rebuild their homes and lives through the funds raised." (http://www.thespec.com)
I immediately thought of my Haitian friend Rachelle and her family when I found out the news of the earthquake. Before I picked up the phone to call her to make sure she and her family were ok, I logged onto Facebook through my iPhone to check out her status update, which confirmed that two of her family members were missing. I braced myself for what would be a terribly sad conversation when I called her. Instead, it was uplifting.
With the wildfire penetration that social media has on our everyday lives, we are now able to transition from tragedy to solution-oriented actions within a click, a status update on Facebook, a tweet on Twitter or a text from our iPhone. In the wake of the horrific and devastating ruins, celebrities and social media micro-famers have successfully raised tens and hundreds of thousands of dollars for Haiti’s efforts to rebuild itself. Donations no longer require a checkbook and a stamp; everyone who has access to a mobile device (which is everyone) can easily and quickly make a positive impact on disaster relief. The positive implications of social media on fundraising are impressive and game changing (donate thru text, trending topics that raise $, etc). As marketers, we are now able to organize around a cause or an event on behalf of our clients and help almost immediately, in real-time and share the impact to only generate more awareness, support, and dollars.
Through her status updates and social networking skills, Rachelle located her family members, those that were lost and those that were affected by the quake. Through a series of short bursts of communications, she was able to notify her parents that all of their family was now safe. This wouldn’t have been possible a few years ago---with loss of power and lack of technology in a developing nation, Rachelle’s family would have had to wait for human disaster relief, lists or the Red Cross to secure that her family was dead or alive. And now, thanks to mobile platforms and social media vehicles I can help support Rachelle and her family efficiently and swiftly without much effort at all. By the time I called Rachelle (only a few minutes after the news had broke) she assured me that everyone close to her would be ok and that now she could focus on rebuilding her home nation. And we can all help.
RT this: #haiti Techies unite to help relief efforts. A weekend meeting of technology pros looking to help victims of Haiti