February 9, 2010 Why Social Media Really Matters
Now for all the complaints about how time consuming, invasive, voyeuristic, or senseless twitter and the like have been, these communication forms are ushering in big changes to how we do good in the world,
I am trying to figure out how to add a new Haiti section to the blog but I am so excited about this particular project that I have to share it with you!
I have decided to start a Blog Carnaval to raise awareness about the oft ignored aspects of Haiti’s history and culture that are really beautiful. In doing so, I’ve come across Haitians who are doing remarkable things to help rebuild their country. One of my favorite leaders in this rebuild, is Carel Pedre. Carel is a Haitian DJ who was in Port-au-Prince when the earthquake hit and managed to survive. Since then, he has started the New Haitian Project, a social network that brings together people from all over the world to help with projects on the ground.
The various initiatives being forged on this social network are impressive. Members like Carmina Mevs have started the one laptop per child/ waveplace project that is organizing online volunteers to translate educational material from English into Creole and aims to revolutionize education in Haiti. There is a voluntourusm group that is brainstorming on how to facilitate volunteering trips that educate visitors and empower Haitians. If you blog, there’s a group for you. If you like music there is a group for you. Whatever your interest or skill set, there is a small collective of people who are there to help you leverage your abilities to do something.
It is remarkable that social media is enabling us to connect with each other in such meaningful ways.It provides a real platform for ideas to be exchanged that empower individuals to do more than just throw money at the problem. This is not to minimize the importance of money in the rebuild but I know there are many out there that wanted to do more and websites like The New Haiti Project enable us to do so.
Haiti has illustrated how technology and social media is totally changing the game. Mainstream media is being rivaled by day to day accounts of what’s happening on the ground through twitter. Donations are easily facilitated with small increments and texting. And networks like The New Haiti Project don’t just make Haiti a sensational hot story of the moment. They keep long term solutions and commitments at the forefront for people who are interested.
Now for all the complaints about how time consuming, invasive, voyeuristic, or senseless twitter and the like have been, these communication forms are ushering in big changes to how we do good. And for that I’m grateful.