Friday, March 11, 2011

Responding to disaster at the speed of social

(Image borrowed from

The massive earthquake and tsunami that have devastated Japan are all over the news right now. But who waits for the news to tell them the what, where, when, how, who and why anymore? We're all getting up-to-the minute reports on our social networks.

And just as with other recent events, the opportunities for everyone to get involved in helping the victims are instant and unprecedented.

For example, with hundreds missing (so far), Google has set up a Google Person Finder for friends and relatives abroad, as well as a Google Crisis Response centre with every type of emergency info imaginable. (As an adman, I can't help but also be impressed by how they've either removed or greyed out their branding on these tools.)

Likewise, current tsunami warning info from NOAA is being passed around as fast as lightning, where it will hopefully save lives in coastal areas:

And as the Red Cross/Red Crescent springs into action (along with governments around the world) to provide rescue and relief, it activates a worldwide network of volunteers and benefactors who can donate — instantly — online. (That's the international link. If you prefer to deal with Red Cross in Canada, go here.)

Say what you will about "slacktivism", but this is one of those days when the medium of concerned, connected human beings can actually make a difference and even save lives.

Please share.

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