Silicon Beach: Twitter Hits Ground Running for Haiti Earthquake Relief

Twitter proved a powerful communication tool when a devastating 7.0 magnitude earthquake hit the island nation of Haiti yesterday afternoon, followed by a series of additional earthquakes well past midnight. Tweets began immediately after the first quake.

Trending topics on Twitter this morning about the earthquake are, thankfully, beating out American Idol: YELE, Help Haiti, Red Cross and Earthquake are the top four.

People in Haiti with mobile phones sent heart-wrenching pictures to Twitpic, a popular photo-sharing compliment to Twitter, soon after the disaster, including Twitter user Lisandro Suero (@lisandrosuero), who documented the aftermath firsthand.

With phone service down, radio and TV host Carel Pedre (@carelpedre) offered to serve as a messenger between those wanting to inquire about loved ones: "If U Need To get in Touch With Friends & Family in Haiti. Send me a Private Message with names and Phone Numbers. I'll get Back to U!"

Since yesterday, Twitter has seen an avalanche of retweets for various relief efforts. Musician Wyclef Jean (@wyclef), who announced on Twitter this morning that he's on his way to the Haiti via the Dominican Republic, put out a call for help though his grassroots organization Yele.org: "Help Haiti Earthquake Relief Donate $5 by texting YELE to 501 501 right now #haiti."  Support for Yele, which means "help" in Creole, must be overwhelming -- as of this morning it was impossible to access the site.

The Red Cross (@redcross) is also tweeting for support: "You can text "HAITI" to 90999 to donate $10 to Red Cross relief efforts in #haiti."

Beyond financial contributions, some are simply showing solidarity by placing a Twibbon over their avatars that spells out "Pray4Haiti".

To follow the aftermath, simply search for #haiti or #haitihelp hashtags. Numerous interesting links are popping up, including one article about how the earthquake was long overdue, (via @pareidoliac). Edwidge Danticat, award-winning Haitian-American author who lives in Miami, also spoke up (via @tamlush).

Haiti was already a beleaguered, impoverished nation before the earthquake struck, but now social networks are provinding some relief.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.

Newsletters

All-access pass to the top stories, events and offers around town.

  • Top Stories
    Send:

Newsletters

All-access pass to top stories, events and offers around town.

Sign Up >

No Thanks!

Remind Me Later >