From Morse codes to cellular phones, from x86 processors to Intel’s i7 processors and from email to social media, mankind has come a long way. All these methods have one thing in common – need to connect. And the most important thing we forget is that though these devices and technologies are designed to improve productivity, they are serving the basic human need to communicate. And the litmus test for all these advancements is when you can use them during crisis situations.
The recent crisis in Japan is a reminder to us to that Technology can be a boom and a curse.
When a nuclear reactor has radiation leak, it makes it impossible to justify benefits of nuclear power even if it is designed for making the world Green or Safe. After all, what is the point if families inhabiting that place will virtually never be able to go there for decades due to the radiations. And then technology renders the only way to either give your location in a crisis or communicate with your loved ones.
In the recent Japan quake, all the telephone lines got disconnected, earthquake knocked out electricity supplies, interestingly Internet availability remains relatively unaffected, according to a blog post from Internet monitoring company Renesys. And what is most compelling is that Japan turned to social media for connecting with their loved ones. Less than an hour after the quake, the number of tweets from Tokyo topped 1,200 per minute, according to Tweet-o-Meter. This is where the Twitter strategy to follow hashtags simply rocks. Check out #Japan #tsunami #earthquake.
Social Media sites such as Twitter & Facebook have also made it possible for people to get and provide real time help. There are numerous messages that provide links to charities for folks who want to make a contribution to organizations who are helping the affected folks. Then, there is also a “Trust” factor on sites like facebook – If a facebook friend of mine endorses a charity organization, chances are there is an implicit trust that I will have in doing the same… which basically helps the affected folks get help, quickly!
Also, people found it easier to share their stories on Facebook stories page. Facebook again became instrumental in not only connecting friends and family but also became a broadcast channel for people to share their updates and checkin with their friends. There was a positive outcome other than news and analysis since REAL people were able to connect.
In this mix, Youtube and blogs became instrumental in giving people eyes into the disaster ridden areas with the help of citizen journalism.
—Contributed by Deepika Bajaj, President and Founder, Invincibelle, LLC and co-founder, ActiveGarage (the company behind 99tribes). Deepika is also the author of the book DiversityTweet: Embracing the growing diversity in our world and Pink and Grow Rich:11 Unreasonable Rules for Success You can follow Deepika on Twitter at invincibelle