Prayers for Japan. Up to now there are thousands who have lost their lives in the earthquake. Nuclear leaks and aftershocks are threatening more people’s lives. Please help Japan! @SXSW, a donation stand has been set up and our colleagues and comrades all made humble contributions.
The Japanese are helping themselves as well on social media. With Internet and telephone failures, Japanese people are now using mobile to help each other. They log on Facebook to check whether their families and friends are fine; they tweet and upload videos to report what they have experienced and seek help; they are also using location-based services to tell rescue staff where they are trapped.
Apart from calling for donation and locating victims, the government and many NGOs are giving survival advice to the public through Twitter. This information is provided in various languages to help non-Japanese users. Responsible citizens formed groups on social media and started self-help. Many lives have been saved with the power of social media.
In the face of such disasters, social media has demonstrated its true meaning: it’s about every individual; it’s about the community. People are instantly united via social media. They reach to their phones and use the latest technology to help themselves and each other, making the world a better place. Isn’t this fascinating and heart-warming?
At a time after disasters, companies and brands realize it is their responsibility to give help to the society. Google immediately developed a special page to help people look for each other, where XUNRENQISHI can be published and distributed. Suntory, a major drinks brand in Japan, announced that all their drinks and vending machines are free for the victims: immediately. 7-11, Japan’s largest convenience store chains, decided to give away free food and drinking water: immediately. Meanwhile, All Japanese mobile networks also decided to provide free mobile access for easier communications: immediately.
Being immediate is always impressive especially in the face of such disasters. I can’t help but imagining a brand taking its CSR actions at the very first moment after the quake happened. Would it be different if social media steps in? What we see now is that social media already became such an important part of human life, even infused in our DNA, that people will rely on social media at a moment of despair. If brands are prepared for every emergency, they can actually think of making them social. Not only at disasters.
Again, prayers for Japan. God bless those who use social media perfectly, and make perfect sushi.