Japan is still recovering from its worst ever natural disaster – the massive earthquake and tsunami that rocked the world’s most tech savvy nation last Friday (11th March). To make matters worse, the nation is still reeling under the threat of nuclear radiation leaks and the seeming never ending series of aftershocks.
Social media has lent a major helping hand in most natural disasters – be it the Haiti earthquake or the Australian bushfire. It’s fair to say that when disaster strikes, citizens the world looks up to social media for the rescue act.
In case of Japan, social media has emerged as the primary tool to spread news, cry for help, pass information to family and friends, and even search for the missing. As a social media user, here are 5 ways in which you can help Japan on the path of recovery after the deadly tsunami and earthquake.
#1 – Contribute
The who’s who of technology world including Apple, Google, Facebook and Twitter have joined hands to help donate to Japan’s recovery efforts following the massive earthquake and devastating tsunami. You can donate through iTunes, Red Cross Facebook campaign, Twitter and several other online sources.
If you are an avid gamer, contribute to Zynga’s efforts to raise $2 million for Save the Children’s Japan Earthquake Tsunami Emergency Fund. You can donate money through the purchase of virtual goods in CityVille, FrontierVille, FarmVille and its other games. You can also donate directly to Redcross right from your cellphone by Texting REDCROSS to 90999 to donate $10.
#2 – Promote
If you don’t have the money to donate, the next best thing you can do is promote these noble relief efforts through your social media presence – Facebook profile, Twitter page and in-person video requests through YouTube. In many cases, a simple click will allow users with limited funds to promote the site on their walls thereby encouraging friends and family to give what they can.
#3 – Be cautious
Unfortunate as it is, scammers use such natural disasters to mint money from unsuspecting public. Most such scams follow familiar patterns: requests for money, messages offering big bucks to help bogus heirs, subverted Facebook links to tsunami videos, and the like. It’s crucial to adopt a cautious approach and to educate others about such potential scams.
For example, if you’ve come across a scammer who’s trying to fool people to make donations for personal gains, it’s a good idea to update such info on your social media profiles to spread awareness.
Offer an exclusive discount or bonus to your followers if they purchase one of your products or events. This also helps track how many people are signing up as customers from your social media efforts.
#4 – Help
Japan has nearly 10 million active Twitter users. A large number of Japanese are still seeking help on Twitter to reach out to loved ones as the country’s telecommunication system virtually shutdown after a number of mobile phone networks and some telephone landlines collapsed in the hours following the 8.9 scale earthquake.
If you have any Japanese nationals amongst your Twitter followers, make sure to lend a helping hand in whatever best possible manner.
#5 – Pray
When nothing else works, prayers do.
May God be with Japan!