With the Haiti Earthquake crisis, activists around the world have been working together to raise funds and send over immediate aid and medical assistance to the thousands . Social media tools such as Twitter have been mobilizing activists of the world and enabling them to collaborate on relief efforts through fundraising text campaigns, and circulation of real-time information.Twitter has proven once again the significance of global real-time communication and distribution, even post the impact it made during the 2009 Iran Election. features like the twitter trending topics, #Haiti hashtags, and twitterlists features are allowing activists around the world, and global leaders to collaborate. Anderson Cooper has been very vocal on twitter giving consistent updates on the ground concerning new developments and breaking news. Non profits organizing various relief initaitives like the Clinton Foundation which immediately responded with a Haiti Earthquake Relief Efforts, Wyclef’s Yele Haiti organization, the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund, and the american red cross, all maximized efforts using twitter. The clinton foundation was one of the first two use twitter to spread their texting campaign for Haiti Relief fundraising: Text the word “QUAKE” to 20222 to donate $10 to the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund, charged to your cell phone bill.
As online conversations raplidy exploded concerning these TEXT fundraising initiatives the American Red Cross also created the Red Cross’s 90999 text campaign (“Text HAITI to 90999 to donate $10 to @RedCross relief”) efforts grew, the Red Cross tweeted Friday morning that donations exceeded $8 million. A recent update today revealed just how powerful these new media campaigns are proving to be as biztimes.com revealed today that $22 million in text pledges has been reported by Red Cross for Haitian earthquake relief as of Jan. 19.
A very relevant CNET article: “Twitter grows up in the aftermath of Haiti” provides analysis of twitters involvement in engaging people and raising awareness around the world concerning HAITI relief. Yet the article also raises the issue of social media’s ability to disseminate misinformation. With the expansion of these rapidly developing social media tools, there also comes more liability, responsibility and a new air of caution. People have to be be mindful when consuming information on twitter, and passing it along.
What also has incredible potential to be a game changer in this new online media space of leveraging technology to aid social activism efforts is the world of Online Video streaming. Video platforms like ours, can be used for on the ground coverage, and reporting, and allow journalists, activists, and locals to collaborate and update other concerned citizens around the world. People can be alerted and invited through email, twitter, & facebook, and can add new content in real-time as it’s coming in.
Our Help Haiti Relief Show-exemplifies how a web based video application like Watchitoo could be used to invite activists, users and others for live stream coverage or collaboration. Please add content to the show, and feel free to use it for real-time video streaming & Haiti updates as the relief efforts continue, and more ground breaking news coverage unfolds.