I made a Twitter-liever out of her!

By Dean Opriasa

Twitter for the Good

After watching the news and being annoyed with me as I kept up with what was going on in Japan, my friend Kate now has a new appreciation for Twitter.  I think she’s come a long way from “Are you Twittering? I don’t get it. Is it like texting people on a larger scale?”

As she scrolled on the very device that she’s cursed and have attributed our lack of BFF time together, my Blackberry, she started to become interested in keeping up with breaking news and news on relief efforts for  those affected b the tsunami and earthquake on Twitter.

Since the earthquake in Haiti in 2010, news coverage about crises has shifted from traditional media outlets of TV, radio, and satellite to Twitter and Facebook. Moreover, social media has proved its role as the go-to medium during crisis and relief aid. It’s proved to be an essential tool for natural disasters.

The earthquake in Japan caused immediate responses on Twitter due to phone lines being down. Within an hour of the earthquake, thousands of tweets came from those in Tokyo calling for help and to find friends and family.

Just a few hours after, hashtags like #prayforJapan, #earthquake, and #tsunami were tweeted at a rapid pace. Twitter, for many in the US, was the first source of information of not only what was going on in Japan but to find out when and how the tsunami would impact US territories.

Just as fast as Twitter feeds set a picture for those of us across the world of the tragedy in Japan, is the way we can help that much quicker and easier. With websites like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, raising awareness spreads to a wider audience and a greater opportunity to raise funds.  Donating could not be any easier. It seems a shift is also happening in the way we donate to charities as more people log online or send texts for their contribution. We saw the tweet above by the Red Cross and with a few strokes on the keypad; we contributed not a whole lot, but something.

At that point, Kate expressed a whole different attitude and a newfound appreciation for “Twittering” In her words, “Now I see. It’s more than just texting and something much more meaningful and useful. I’d like to go on record that I am now a Twitter-liever! “

How have you used Twitter for the greater good?

Share your thoughts in the comments below!