The social-media after-shock in Haiti
January 20th, 2010

The aftereffects of last week’s magnitude 7.0 earthquake in Haiti are still being felt. Tele-communications infrastructure has been pushed to its limits in Haiti while the Internet has become literally a crucial life-line The earthquake Haiti experienced on January 12, 2010 was also felt throughout the world as it was rapidly communicated through traditional and social-media channels at an astonishing pace. Traditional broadcast media-outlets interrupted their scheduled programming to bring it’s audience breaking NEWS, while social-media erupted with chatter about a natural disaster that would become to be known as one of the most devastating in human history.

Jason Palmer, a science and technology reporter for BBC News, emphasized that “the collapse of traditional channels of communication in Haiti has again highlighted the role of social media and the internet in disasters.” for amassing aide and coordinating rescue efforts for the region.

While aid and relief efforts are in progress a communication aftershock of sorts is being felt within the social-media sphere. A quick search for #Haiti on Twitter reveals remnants of this aftershock, clearly demonstrating that Twitter has become one of the primary channels of communications related to aid and relief  for Haiti.

Many commercial social-media services such as Google are helping people to stay connected in post-earthquake Haiti.  Facebook is exploding with activity with the establishment of  hundreds of groups.

The free and open-source crowdsourcing project Ushahidi is also involved in the relief efforts by helping track information in real-time and coordinating volunteers for post-earthquake Haiti. providing an outlet for people to show their support for the Haitians who have survived the quake.

Google Crisis Response is helping by providing free Google Voice calls to Haiti and producing missing persons lists.



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