Following up on her previous article on the Haiti earthquake, Jenny Plant, currently working for a multi-national pharmaceutical brand, helping them to build a social media presence, gives us further thoughts on the subject.
A week on from the Haiti earthquake, and aid agencies are still struggling to reach many of the injured and homeless. Haitian patience is wearing thin - as is ours, as we wonder why a record breaking fundraising appeal is still not enough to help many of those in most need of food, shelter and medical aid.
For what its worth, social media seems to have made a big difference to the global fundraising effort. Here in the UK the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) said £8 million was raised in one day, after an appeal announcement on Twitter. A text message donation system was also set up and by Sunday 10,000 people signed up as fans of the DEC Facebook page, compared to 800 four days earlier.
DEC chief executive Brendan Gormley said: ''Social networking has proven itself as a valuable addition to the fund-raising machine. I'm thrilled that we have been able to quickly communicate and engage the UK public, who have in turn responded with tremendous generosity to help the people of Haiti.”
More than 30,000 people have logged on the photograph sharing website Flickr to see pictures put up by DEC, and a video appeal on YouTube has been watched over 5,000 times.
In the states Americans donated more than $8 million by text message within three days of the quake. The donations were pledged $10 at a time, in a campaign made viral by Twitter and Facebook. People texted "HAITI" to a number that triggered an automated donation request, which they then confirmed, and 100 percent of donations was passed on to the Red Cross.
“It's shattered any record that we've seen with mobile giving before,' said Wendy Harman, social media manager for the Red Cross. “It feels like every person who has a Twitter account has tweeted about it, which is a pretty amazing thing to see."
There really are a lot of very nice people in the world – let’s hope this now translates to real help for Haiti.