Saturday, January 16, 2010

Humanitarian Action 2.0

The swift and awesome humanitarian actions taken to support the victims of the murderous earthquake in Haiti, using social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook, are great examples for our class, Politics and the Internet.

"In less than 48 hours, the American red Cross had received more than $35m in donations - including $8m directly from texts," according to BBC News.

I am pleased to hear that GW is also taking part in this movement to reach out their hands to help the hurt, the hungry, and the homeless. Since the earthquake, I have been receiving many news feeds on Facebook from GW students:
If anyone is interested in helping out with the Haiti Relief Efforts on our campus, please come to the MSSC in Room 104, this Sunday, January 17 at 5:30 p.m. TEXT 'YELE' to 501501 to donate $5 to Haiti Relief Fund - Wyclef Jean, CNN or donate to UNICEF.
Social media has also proved itself as a great tool for news reporting amid cut-off land and mobile phone lines:
Throughout the night, we spoke to people through whichever platform they had access to – Skype, Twitter, Facebook- and collated a sound idea of what was happening right now. The necessity of using the internet because the phones were down forced all traditional news gathering to the side, and meant we relied entirely on the web. Sky was first with the information because we turned to the people there and relied on them to tell the story – and for that they are owed huge thanks.

The earthquake was a tragedy of the greatest proportions and our hearts and minds are with those suffering. But amidst the horror, last night was a triumph in web 2.0 journalism and communications; it proved that the internet allows us to share information across the globe, regardless of the scene.There is now no excuse for not being up-to-date, all of the time.
While we could be preoccupied with the downsides and noises of social networks and the internet, or those who intend to exploit people’s good intention, it is certain that these networks are turning into people's lifelines. I hope that a spontaneous order will be intact online. Spread the word.


Alex Laska said...

Very true. I think a lot of people get caught up in how seemingly useless and self-satisfying Twitter usually is and don't think about how, sometimes, it can prove very useful, such as coordinating earthquake relief efforts and keeping informed on what's going on in Iran. I'm not a huge fan of Twitter myself, but Web 2.0 has certainly had its moments.

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