Another stellar change in “life, as we know it”. Perhaps it happened last year or a few months ago but for me it just happened with the Japan earthquake and tsunami.
It’s not about how great social media is during a catastrophe but it is about how amazing and essential social media is during a catastrophe.
Megan Walsh sent a Tweet to Ann Curry (Today Show co-host) asking her to please find out something about her sister who was in Japan teaching when the tsunami hit. Ann was able to locate Megan’s sister with a picture on her phone and location details.
It really hit me.
Like the rotary phone to the touch tone phone. Like the beeper device to the cell phone. Like the cell phone to Apple’s FaceTime…our world of communication has not only changed forever but it has changed for the better.
Japan’s Internet is largely intact after the 8.9-magnitude earthquake that struck Friday, allowing online services to play a pivotal role in connecting victims of the quake with families and friends unsure of their whereabouts.
While the earthquake knocked out electricity supplies and shut down two nuclear power plants, Internet availability remains relatively unaffected, according to a blog post from Internet monitoring company Renesys.
In a message sent Friday from the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo to U.S. citizens in Japan, the Embassy encouraged Americans “to continue your efforts to be in contact with your loved one(s) using SMS texting and other social media (e.g., FaceBook, MySpace, Twitter, etc.) that your loved one(s) may use.”
Additionally, the message suggested Americans in Japan use other online services including the Google Person Finder and the Red Cross’s Family Links website in order to make their whereabouts and conditions known.
Google often creates Person Finder sites during emergencies that allow people to leave information about their whereabouts or information about a missing person. At the time of writing, there were about 158,700 records for Japan — more than 140,000 more records than were submitted to the last such site it set up for the victims of the Christchurch earthquake in February.
To make a donation to the American Red Cross to support Japan earthquake and tsunami relief efforts visit www.redcross.org or text REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.