Technology & Social Media play role in helping Haiti

The Internet, mobile technology and various social media tools are proving to be valuable tools in the hours and days after Tuesday’s devastating earthquake, with blog posts, tweets and video conferencing getting the word out when land lines went dead.

It all started when Twitter became ungulfed with tweets about the horrific natural disaster.  Several thousand tweets a minute were being posted under the #Haiti hashtag.

Twitter and Facebook users encouraged each other to donate to the relief efforts and the U.S. Red Cross quickly collected $1,000,000 after a text message campaign went viral.

12for12K, a unique social media-led charity initiative that connects globally and helps locally, was also busy Wednesday night helping to raise much needed funds via Twitter. 

“When news started filtering through about the disaster in Haiti, it was obvious that 12for12k would be supporting,” said 12for12K founder Danny Brown.  “It’s moments like this when a community springs into action to support another community and the 12for12k supporters were already asking how we’d be helping. So I chose Hope for Haiti as they’re in there doing what needs to be done now, and got the ChipIn donation widget set up. Next was the blog post to explain what we were doing (as if any was needed) and then the rally cries began on Twitter. $1,200 in one hour. 220 retweets and counting. Almost $1700 raised so far.”

“This is what social media is perfect at – a unified message when it’s needed most.”

Reuters, early Wednesday evening reported that a Canadian woman managed to use her cellphone or hand-held device to send a text message, which was received by the Foreign Affairs Department in Ottawa, nearly 3,000 km away. It was relayed to Canadian diplomats back in Haiti, who rushed to provide assistance.

If you have any stories on how technology and social media are helping people to help people, please feel free to leave a comment below.