Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The Importance of Social Media ~ Haiti

About a month ago I was at a Christmas Open House with a group of teachers. The conversation turned to Twitter and Facebook. Someone mentioned that I was the one who knew all about it. One of the retired teachers wanted to know what the big deal was. She just didn't get it.

I tried to explain, but it was difficult. First, I don't know all about it; I'm still learning. Second, I love Twitter and Facebook, but to try to explain its appeal is a challenge. I said that I had been able to contact friends and relatives on Facebook that I hadn't talked to for years. I also explained that by being a fan of news networks on Facebook and following the news channels on Twitter, I was able to keep up with all the news in real time.

She still didn't get it. I finally told her that she needed to experience it for herself.

Well, tonight, maybe those people who don't "get it," will. The horrible earthquake in Haiti demonstrates just how important the new technology is. The only connection to the outside world seems to be satellite Internet. The only communications are coming from Skype, Twitter, and Facebook. The news programs are relying on social media to get their information.

And the news is devastating. Eighty percent of Haiti's population is below the poverty level. People survive on $2.00 a day. The vegetation has been stripped by people trying to survive which has caused mudslides and blocked roads. There were four tropical storms in 2008. There are millions of people living in a space that should house only thousands. And now buildings have collapsed, thousands of people are assumed trapped and probably dead. There is chaos.

Relief efforts are already underway, many organized on Twitter and Facebook.

It's time for schools to realize the immense importance of social media in today's world. This should be tomorrow's social studies lesson.

1 comment:

  1. The Internet and texting have been critical during this disaster in Haiti. I heard that most donations only come in for one to two weeks after a disaster, so if it's easy to donate, people will do it.

    I still haven't tried Twitter.