Social networkers use web, phones to raise funds for Haitians affected by earthquake

Click to follow
The Independent Online

A chorus of tweets requesting aid and donations for those worst hit by the January 12 earthquake in Haiti have been spreading across the web in the days following the devastating event.

Social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook have quickly grown to become an integral part of aid organizations' fund-raising campaigns over the last two days. A host of 140-character messages have spread over the internet to reach thousands of eyes in the space of seconds.

On January 14 the global community of microbloggers could be seen working together to assist a greater cause, driving terms such as "Yele" (Haiti aid organization Yele.org), "Red Cross" and "Help Haiti" into the top of Twitter's most talked about topics.

Facebook statuses also changed, urging followers to help those stranded in grief-stricken areas through monetary donations to reputable organizations.

Aid organizations took advantage of the real-time web and new technologies, posting updates on social networks and helping to make as many people aware of the situation as possible.

Many people opted to make donations via their phones or through web-based collection agents instead of sending checks or making pledges that might not be filled for weeks. Mobile operators got on board to help accept micropayments sent via text message.

On January 14 the American Red Cross tweeted, "You have donated nearly $3 million to Red Cross earthquake relief efforts in #Haiti by texting "haiti" to 90999. Thank you. Keep it up."

Haiti-born musician (formally of The Fugees fame) Wyclef Jean's foundation "Yele" has also reportedly helped raise over $400,000 in text-message donations.

Websites have sprung up overnight in light of the disaster, including http://koneksyon.com/, a website dedicated to helping people find their missing loved ones in Haiti.

America's Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) issued a statement on January 13, urging donors to be aware of Haiti earthquake donation scams. The announcement stated that the FBI had already received a number of different complaints citing potentially fraudulent websites posing as legitimate aid organizations.

A list of websites related to the Haiti earthquake:
Haiti missing persons list: http://koneksyon.com/
Live blogging from Haiti on Canadian newspaper Globe and Mail's site: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/world/live-blogging-the-haiti-earthquake/article1430663/
Huffington Post's curated list of Haiti earthquake Twitter updates: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/01/13/haiti-earthquake-twitter_n_421722.html
BBC's List of Haiti Twitter updates: http://listorious.com/BBC_HaveYourSay/haiti
Earthquake Haiti Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?v=wall&gid=252988675717
Red Cross on Twitter: http://twitter.com/RedCross
Haiti-born musician Wyclef Jean's Twitter page: http://twitter.com/wyclef
FBI's Haitian Earthquake Relief Fraud Alert: http://www.fbi.gov/pressrel/pressrel10/earthquake011310.htm

Comments