Social Media 4 Social Good: A Tsunami of Care


This weekend as the media and music savvy minds gathered in Austin Texas for the South By Southwest Conference to marvel at the advancements we have made with our technical evolution, Mother Nature gave us a reminder of who is really in charge of this planet and how frail we are as humans.

For all our Twitter, Facebook, Four Square and whatever shiny new toy it is of the moment, at the end of the day it means nothing in the wake of the devastation that has been brought down upon Japan. As the waves of Mother Nature’s fury paint a canvas of chaos across Japan one must wonder what it all means at the end of the day.

Is it the one who dies with the most toys wins?
Will this Tsunami affect the Klout scores of the dead and missing?
How many friends lost on the Facebook pages of Japans population?
Will those affected ever rebuild the number of their Twitter followers?

Who cares.

We are so enchanted by how clever we are that we sometimes forget that in ONE second none of what we THINK is important IS. What is important is what we can do with the technology and knowledge we have at our disposal to make a difference in times of crisis. I have written in a previous post of how social media can help make a difference in times of change. We must remember to harness its outreach capabilities to help raise money, awareness and connecting people to sources of where and how they can assist.

If we are going to sit around on our iphones, laptops, BlackBerry’s all day, instead of updating our social media sights with what marvelous things we think are important, do something that IS important.

Be the change. Make the difference. Remember: We are a billion children rolled into one.

Here are some ways you can make a difference through social media:

The American Red Cross has launched a texting campaign to raise money for assistance efforts in the Pacific region. Last year, they were able to raise over $20 million for Haiti relief through simple text donations. If you would like to donate to the American Red Cross for Japan Earthquake Relief, just text REDCROSS to 90999. Each text will provide $10 towards the Red Cross’s humanitarian efforts.

The Red Cross has also launched a Campaign on Causes to raise at least $25,000 for relief efforts. By logging in to Facebook, you can donate anywhere from $10 to $500 to help Tsunami victims and their families.

The folks over at Explore.org are donating $1 for every “Like” of the “Dog Bless You” Facebook page, up to $100,000. Explore.org founder Charlie Weingarten delivered the challenge at South by Southwest this weekend. “Search and rescue dogs are a critical resource for emergency situations,” he told the audience.

Harness the power of your Twitter account to do some good for the people of Japan. Twitter published a blog post detailing ways you can help with the relief efforts. Not only have they updated Japan’s mobile website with the latest information on the disaster, but they have also published a list of hashtags to tweet and/or follow related to the crisis. Here are some key hashtags to remember:
• #Jishin: focuses around general earthquake information
• #Anpi: a hashtag for the confirmation of the safety of individuals or places
• #Hinan: Evacuation information
• #311care: a hashtag regarding medical information for the victims
• #PrayforJapan: A general hashtag for support and best wishes for victims of the crisis

The great people at South By Southwest Conference along with the amazing Natalie Petouhoff stepped into action while in Austin during the event. Go to sxswcares.org and make a donation via the website. It goes directly 2 Red Cross and you get an email receipt from red cross.

1 Comment

  1. One of the things that I loved about this article was the truth behind what you express. Beyond that, showing that as human beings and as individuals in our personal lives and well as in our roles as professionals we can use our resources to be part of the change and the solutions. Thank you for bringing this all together here, and reminding us the power we have as people, and how in it's essence it so outweighs "klout".

    After reading your post I was inspired to start a similar initiative at my own company, and just the knowledge within my team that they too could help in an extra way made such a positive impact. As human beings we need to feel active, we need to facilitate change, thank you for putting it out there and reminding us about all the ways we can make that difference!

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Who Is Ty Sullivan?

Ty Sullivan is the Director of Marketing and Social Media for one of New York City's top restaurant management groups. He also speaks, teaches and designs Customer Service seminars as well as blogs on the subject.

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