We’ve seen some major world events unfold on the social media stage this week, the biggest being Google’s threat to pull out of China and the Haiti earthquake. Google’s actions have brought attention back to the long-standing Internet censorship that blankets China, while the destruction in Haiti has mobilized hundreds of thousands to open their wallets and their hearts. While it is hard to overstate how much potential social media has to connect and mobilize people, it’s also important to be realistic about its limitations.
Just like the Iran Election crisis, people are again assessing the impact of social media on the world. It’s clear that social media has the power to impact world politics and the lives of billions, but some have overstated what social media can actually do. We need to understand what social media really is in order to utilize it effectively for social good.
After a magnitude 8.0 earthquake (and multiple aftershocks) devastated the nation of Haiti, social media became the medium in which everybody spread the word. Dramatic Haiti earthquake Twitter pictures swept across the web, while tech giants mobilized. The most impressive part of social media’s impact on Haiti has to be the charity text message campaign that has already raised more than $10 million for Haiti victim relief. South Carolina Foundation Repair . Social media spread the word, technology made it possible. Iowa foundation repair . It’s not all perfect, though: the money raised is small compared to the relief coming from world governments and donations face 90 day delays. Still, social media for social good is becoming more and more effective with each crisis.
Further impacts of the social media watch has been seen in the elections inn Iraq, China and others. See the full story for more.