Tsunami Devastates Japan How Social Media Reacted
If you are an active user of social media sites, there is a good chance you are fully aware of the natural disaster, an 8.9 magnitude earthquake that has occurred off the coast of Japan early this morning. The impending fear of a tsunami heading towards the western coast of the United States has disaster relief efforts on high alert. Our prayers go out to all the friends and family members of people affected by this disaster.
The news spread like a wild fire through the online social media sites with people sending their prayers or reporting their live accounts of the devastation they were observing. As heard on CNN just now, an individual who survived a first hand account of the earthquake said that Facebook did help overcome the fear he was stricken with, giving him the ability to communicate with family members as well as friends. Social media gives modern day communications a run for its money.
Google launched the Person Finder in efforts to help reconnect people with lost or missing friends and family during the Egyptian revolution. In response to the tsunami in Japan, Google has launched the Google Crisis Center
During times of crisis, social media networking sites often times join efforts with cell phone service providers to help raise donations for disaster relief. In 2009, Twitter paired up with a mobile service provider and raised about 21 million dollars in about one month via $10 donations. Unlike the news and television stations who ask for donations, social media connects these charitable donations with hundreds of millions of people simultaneously and is as easy as texting a code or number.
Aside from monetary contributions during events like the tsunami, social media allows groups of people to organize in an efficient and organized manner. It surpasses emails and telephone calls for organizational purposes due to how interactive these sites have become.
Whether you are on Facebook, Twitter or Myspace, it’s hard not to see several people posting about the earthquake and tsunami. Similar to the Haiti earthquake that took place last year, social media sites have given friends and family a tool to connect with each other during natural disasters when communications are cut off. There is no worse feeling than to hear about such a disastrous event and being unable to communicate with a friend or family member in the affected area.