Relief for Japan Spearheaded by Social Media

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Once the power went out on March 11th at the Misawa Air Base in Japan, Air Force Senior Master Sgt. Joy Josephson knew she would have come up with a creative way to update the world about the 9.0 earthquake. Using Facebook as her main source of communication from Japan to the outside world, she regularly posted updates and information for followers across the globe. Josephson was on to something. After the earthquake, TwitterYouTubeFlickr were constantly updated with information on power outages, the nuclear crisis and volunteers looking for ways to lend a helping hand.

Social media has been a forerunner in Japan’s relief efforts, with communities and individuals uniting to provide support systems, funding and goods to the victims. Companies have caught on and are using social media as a way to fundraise for the earthquake relief. MotionPortrait, a Japanese based entertainment company, is donating all sales of its 12 iPhone apps between now and March 31 to the Tsunami relief. LivingSocial, a U.S. website that offers deals for subscribers, matched $1 million in donations for Japan while Zynga (a Facebook game company) raised an addition $1 million within their first day of launching relief efforts.

 

“The response for volunteers [at Misawa] has been enormous,” Josephson said. “People want to know what they can do. Folks want to donate clothes, nonperishables, but we also have the people who want to go clean up and help — anything they can do to help our Japanese friends.”

Facebook pages like Global Disaster Relief on Facebook and Dog Bless You are designed specifically to fundraise for the victims. Twitter created a blogpost that has a people finder, updates on power outages, public transportation facts, disaster site evaluations, evacuation details and other relevant information. “

“It’s been amazing; it’s really exploded,” Josephson states about social media’s effect on the tsunami relief efforts. “It’s becoming such an asset, not only to our community, but more so to the community outside of Misawa, to people just wanting to gain information.”

Social media has recently become a way for the community to become involved through many causes and disasters, and will continue to be our stream of information and hope for every victim.

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