First, our thoughts and prayers go out to all those reeling after the earthquake in Japan just hours ago. We wish all those affected the best and know that relief is on the way fast.
As news broke I was on my computer and read some of the initial articles, some of which had just posted and saw that most were lagging behind in information and timing compared with the coverage I could get by monitoring social networks. Tsunami warnings? A friend in Hawaii posted that on Facebook before I saw any articles on it. Warnings for the West Coast of the US? A friend posted that before any major news networks had anything on it. Any info I wanted about the quake and tsunami? Twitter had it.
The response via social media was instantaneous and is living and evolving as we learn more. There is nothing else in the world that comes close to sharing that type of immediate and authentic reaction of people all over the world.
I was about to go to sleep when I realized that no one had started a Causes page for earthquake relief yet so I got to work and just a few minutes after I posted the page, Causes notified me that the Red Cross had launched and official page and that I could join now. In the roughly 6 minutes that I had my own Cause page up, 6 people joined and spread the news to approximately 3,000 people in their networks. There was also a donation made before I removed it. Thank you very much to those people.
It goes to shows how quick to react social media really is. To give you an idea, there is a stream coming from Al Jazeera that has been spreading like wildfire via Twitter. A choppy video feed is making me guess that there are a lot of people watching it. Information that the wave to hit the Japanese coast were reportedly 10 meters high spread via Twitter. All ten of the top trending topics on Twitter are related to the earthquake including hashtags such as #prayforjapan and #tsunami. If you check your Facebook feed, I bet you can’t scroll one page without seeing a post about it and numerous groups and pages have popped up to offer support and spread awareness.
We have seen the swift power that social media has and with Causes, there is an easy way for everyone that cares to help out. Your network is valuable even if you can’t donate and inviting your friends could end up being worth more than any cash donation you could make yourself. Since I have been writing, real money has been donated to the Red Cross and the Causes page is getting some huge exposure as people share it. No doubt that it will grow exponentially as more time zones wake up for the day.
If you have a minute, go to the Causes page for the earthquake in Japan and invite your friends and post to your profile, you never know who that information is going to reach. We’re all going to be affected by this in one way or another even if it seems like it’s far from you. Take a look through your Facebook feed and Twitter and reach out to friend’s that have had a strong reaction to these events and reach out to them, they may have family, friends, or loved ones in danger.
As a reference, the quake was felt as far as the capital of China and is the worst quake (8.9) in 300 years in a country where they are very common. As waves approach other countries, our thoughts are with you, please be safe!