Facebook and Twitter: Effective Social Network Platforms for Haiti relief

No doubt, Facebook and Twitter are the two prominent social networking platforms that soared high and proved themselves to be tremendously useful ever since the Haiti Earthquake occured. Just when the earthquake occured and telecommunications were cut, the world was still able to reach Haiti through the satallite internet connection and such platforms.

People started to report their safety to their loved ones through Facebook, while many others were frantically searching for their families through Twitter. This was the fastest communication form that could bring news across the globe and inform the world on Haiti Earthquake.

Likewise, people immediately started to utilize these platforms for raising funds for Haiti relief. In less than 24 hours, many people are rallying friends, families and strangers to chip in their small effort to help victims of the earthquake through money donations.

I agree with what Mistypore said: “It is moving to see strangers becoming friends to help those in need when predicament falls on them.” I would say that their efforts are commendable. However, will their efforts pay off?

Now in this post, let me Stormypore analyze the effectiveness of these two main communication platforms in Haiti relief and share my thoughts on this.

What’s good is that calls for donations are spreading like wildfire through Facebook and Twitter. Apparently, many tweeted messages to donate though different foundations. All one had to do was to simply text “Yele” to 501501, or text “Haiti” to 90999. As far as I have known, Red Cross has received millions of donation money across the globe.

Similarly, many new facebook pages are popping up claiming to donate a certain amount of money with every click, or perhaps every fan that joined the group.

Lets pause here for a second and reflect on the effectiveness of Twitter and Facebook in Haiti relief. Is it really that efficient in providing relief for the victims? Here are some factors to consider:

1. Slacktivism – Was it just talk without concrete actions? Surely, one may beg to differ with my opinion. But I’m sure its not only me who thinks of this. While we all sit back and relax on our chairs and assure ourselves that we are giving help for Haiti victims by spreading the word with clicks on facebook or twitter, have we wondered who are those really opening their wallets to take out real cash for donation? Who are those really filling up credit card payment forms online?

2. Donations that turn into scams. Oh, yes. For those claiming funds and assuring us that the donations go to the Haiti relief, may I just question them: WHERE IS THE GUARANTEED PROOF THAT THE FUNDS DO GO TO HAITI RELIEF? Its really that simple. I’m just having trust issues with the many foundations that lack legitimate charity papers. As much as we do want to extend help by donating money, we have to check and ensure that the money ends up in the correct place in the correct use. Even the FBI issues fraud alert warning on Haiti donation scams. I certainly do not wish to see good hearted people blindly donating money to people who intend to embezzle those funds. This goes so far to show the characters of those “fund raisers” – heartless and still trying to profit from disaster.

These might not be the only flaws of such social networks. While I do support people and their effort to spread the word for Haiti, I can’t help but ask myself this: How far can Facebook and Twitter go to help Haiti relief through real donations rather than hundreds of thousands of people merely clicking their mouses and sitting in their comfort zone?

This post is indeed  long and lengthy, but I hope that it helps to make us all think about our relief efforts and their effectiveness. Having the heart to do so is really not enough, actions speak much louder than mere words. In my opinion, the amount you donate does not matter as long as you do take the first step to really donate, however small the amount may be. Therefore, I feel that Facebook and Twitter are indeed useful, but to a limited extent. Now, what do YOU think?

Some reference pictures below to let our readers ponder on this topic.

Till then, Stormypore (:

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