Social Media can help unite us in times of crisis. Within moments, social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook and Youtube connect the world with the voices and images on the ground as well our own global reactions. We give you here one more reason that you should be participating in social media if you aren’t yet, as well as important links to information and ways to help the tragic situation in Japan following the devastating earthquake and tsunami.
Our first alert in Kauai to the huge, tragic Japan earthquake was at 9PM Thursday night, March 10. We attended first to preparations for a tsunami predicted for 3AM our time. There was little sleep for everyone on Kauai and the rest of the state of Hawaii with tsunami warning sirens going off every hour from 10PM through 3AM with a bonus at 2:30AM. Residents from homes and vacation rentals directly at the coast needed to evacuate and we supported that effort by taking in a few people. As it turned out, the tsunami effect in Hawaii was very limited but given the magnitude of the quake and tsunami in Japan, it was certainly better to be safe than sorry.
We immediately got on Twitter @KauaiTalk @LindaSherman @RayJGordon and Facebook to make sure that our local friends in Hawaii were aware of the warnings and were taking precautions. We passed on news and responded to questions using the hash tag# created for the local event: #HITsunami.
All night, we watched the first shocking, horrifying and heartbreaking images that CNN could get a hold of. CNN didn’t have many that first night and kept running them over and over but we kept coming back to watch. My husband Ray and I lived in Japan for more than 13 years beginning in late 1993. (I was there for an additional 8 years before that). We were very worried about our friends in Japan. We checked for whatever social media we could find and also bothered them with emails.
At times of humanitarian crisis or when a nation or the world is focused on a special event, social media brings us together. Twitter in particular is very immediate. I wrote about this phenomenon calling it the Twitter Shared Experience. Facebook Pages that are open to updates can also be very useful. Blogs follow and allow us to share stories that support all of us. Information shared through social media is helpful to those in need and it links us all together, in all of our humanity.
Social Media for Social Good
Social media can be used for Social Good. You may have seen stories written about “social influencers” people whose voices carry to many thousands of listeners through their followers on Twitter, Facebook and blogs. In these times of crisis, these influencers can be a positive force. But so can each and everyone of us. You can share your voice on Twitter by including a # in your tweet such as #HelpJapan. People who use Twitter search can create a stream of information by putting that # in their Twitter search bar.* You can contribute your voice to the Facebook Pages I have listed here. You can comment on relevant websites and blogs or post a blog yourself.
I worked in Japan as an executive and was one of the few foreign participants in the Nihon Keizai Doyukai (Japan Associate of Corporate Executives). The Keizai Doyukai produces white papers for consideration by the Japanese government. There are few foreigners in this organization because it is conducted entirely in Japanese and requires the ability to not only speak Japanese but read Japanese in order to fully participate. I participated in several committees that touched on the image of Japan to the world.
Japan is a huge international aid contributor but they never talk about it. Japanese are humble by nature and do not brag about what they do. I am hoping that this crisis ultimately drags more English capable Japanese onto social media to communicate with the rest of the world about Japan. This will be part of an overall change from a rather insular society to one that is more fully linked with the rest of the world. We can help Japan financially and emotionally through our support delivered through social media platforms.
Following is the list of links* that I have collected so far. This has been a labor of love and I hope you find it useful. You are invited to add useful links that I have missed in the comments.
Social Good – Giving
List of Local Japanese Organizations Providing Direct Support Links to their English pages selected as trustworthy by Todd Wassel and his Japanese wife who are both professional aid and recovery workers with the United Nations
Tokyo IS Support Tokyo International School & TEDxTokyo communities have partnered with Second Harvest Japan to receive needed supplies at Tokyo International School for immediate delivery to the disaster areas (local donations)
Seven Ways to Help from Mashable a leader in Social Media news and analysis
South by SouthWest SXSW Giving
SXSW* – Use your social media influence to help Japan message – Red Cross
Time Magazine – Five Ways You Can Help
How You Can Help from Tokyo Time Out
USAID.gov links to this Interaction list of charities
There are additional references to charities within many of the links on this page.
Celebrities are making major contributions, some direct and some collecting donations through fans such as Lady Gaga with a Pray for Japan wristband.
On corporate or non-profit giving: some people have objected to requests for passing forward the word on Twitter through retweets (Microsoft for Bing) or joining Fan Pages to raise money but Charlie Weingarten at Dog Bless You smartly replied: Some people ask why I don’t just give the money. Because together we are far stronger than working alone. Others are suggesting that Apple is taking a cut of contributions through iTunes (they are not!). I have to admit that I personally didn’t like a 2009 cancer campaign on Twitter that appeared to be all about breaking a guinness record so that a particular PR agency could show they had clout (without acknowledging major players that had helped them along the way). But while using caution to only contribute through organizations you trust, we need not be stingy with our Facebook likes and our Twitter RT’s (retweets). Microsoft quickly decided to just donate the $100,000 instead of continuing their RT campaign but ultimately, continuing to spread the word is good for everyone and … why is it that we need to begrudge these organizations some positive PR?
Useful Japan Disaster Dedicated Sites
Google Crisis Response includes flight cancellation status and other useful updated information (English)
Wikipedia current disaster page filled with useful links and updates
Press Releases from the Prime Minister of Japan related to Measures Being Taken
Olive – Advice Wiki for emergency areas in English and Japanese by @_nosigner
Wiki for Earthquake Info
American Embassy in Japan
Fukushima International Association
Live News Streams from Japan – English
NHK World (Japan’s national TV station) has is providing livestream with full earthquake/tsunami coverage on this NHK Ustream Link
Live News Streams from Japan – Japanese
TBS Channel on UStream.
Useful Sites About Japan Providing Updates
Yokoso – Japan Culture, Lifestyle and Entertainment based in Yokkaichi, Mie, Japan
Entertainment Magazine in Japan – Time Out Tokyo
Japan Times – English Language Newspaper in Japan
Tokyo Post Online News Magazine
Japan Today Online News Magazine
Gaijin Pot Online Live, Work, Play Magazine for Foreigners in Japan
Google People Finder
Useful Facebook Pages in English – includes Giving
eJournal USA published by the United States Department of State, Bureau of International Information Programs
Help Save Japan at SXSW
Prayer for Tsunami Victims in Japan (fortunately has non-prayer related info as well)
Rescue Dog Organization: Explore Dogs
Tokyo International School Emergency Supply Center
Twitter Corporate Produced (in both Japanese and English) helpful links and useful hash tags.
Search for essential local Japan earthquake crisis information in English on Twitter
Twitter #Hash Tags*
I am seeing tweets that say ‘instead of #PrayforJapan please use #HelpJapan’ and I agree! However, #PrayforJapan is still going strong, so if you want to get a message to all on the English channels you should use both tags.
In Japan they are using #jishin (earthquake) and others you can see listed in the Twitter blog at the top of this section. #EQJP has become an accepted format from recent earthquakes in Equador and New Zealand.
The #j_j_helpme hash tag reminds us that Twitter can be used to save your life. We wrote about this in our Your Cell Phone Can Save Your Life article.
Tweets From Japan
Tweets From Japan 60 volunteers translating tweets in Japanese into 12 languages – Google Doc
Earthquake and Relief live tweet streams on Twimpact this system by Matthias Jugel, owner of Twimpact (in Germany) searches tweets by keywords and #tags and includes cloud of active twitter accounts providing information. This is generally designed to capture Japanese tweets because of the keywords used. You can choose the translation language for your country.
In English (curating news)
@Tzarimas Helen Tzarimas from Sydney (update – Mar 15 – exhausted – passed to her Japan twitter list)
@seacorro Zoe Daniel from Bangkok
@Colvinius Mark Colvin from Sydney
@HiroTag Hiroko MD from Cardiff, Wales, UK
@Bunguman Yoshi Suzuki from Minneapolis, Minn
@MarianSteinbeck from Cologne, Germany
@MarcySensei Marcy Sensei, from Mexico City
Thought Leaders Not Currently in Japan
@Joi Joi Itoh from wherever he is in the world
Tweeting From Japan Personal Experience and Information
@YankeeReview Darren in Fukushima, Japan
@UnusualOlive Rika Oshima in Yokohama, Japan
@DanielKahl public personality, born in California, in Japan
@audreybenten Usually in Shinjuku, Japan – in Austin for SXSW conference
@tokyoreporter Brett Bull in Tokyo
@Matt_Alt Matt Alt in Tokyo
@tamegoeswild Joseph Tame in Tokyo
@1rick Rick Martin in Tokyo
@survivingnjapan Ashley Thompson in Shizuoka
@sandrajapandra Sandra Barron in Tokyo
@HidekiOnda in Tokyo
@Gen Gen Kanai
@MutantFrogInc Roy Berman
@KenMogi in Tokyo
@OurManinAbiko in Abiko, Japan
@Shioyama in Tokyo
@Tom_Vincent in Tokyo
@gakuranman Michael Gakuran in Nagoya, Japan
@SteveNagata in Tokyo
News Bureau Related People Tweeting from Japan
@martyn_williams in Tokyo
@HirokoTabuchi in Tokyo
@W7VOA Steve Herman
@JNatsuko Natsuko Fukue
@jtmasami Masami Ito
@Ularainblack Ulara Nakagawa
@fieldproducer Neal Mann (free lance)
@sanchanta Mariko Sanchanta
@dicklp Richard Lloyd Parry
@kzinagata Kazuaki Nagata
@Daiwaka Daisuke Wakabayashi
Japan News Sites in English
@Norishikata Noriyuki Shikata, PR Prime Minister’s Office
Updates and Rescue Information in Japanese
Accurate Nuclear News
@BraveNewClimate Barry Brook author Brave new Climate
Japan Status Accurate radiation level information @JapanStatus
March 17 Obama Public Address: USA Not Threatened by Nuclear Fallout from CNN
Why I Am Not Fleeing Japan – Washington Post
I have created a Japan Crisis Twitter List on my @KauaiTalk account and am doing related tweeting from both @LindaSherman and @KauaiTalk but no longer in the format of a constant stream of information that you will find most of the time on the twitter accounts I have collected for this article.
How to Pronounce Japanese
Japanese pronunciation is flat with no emphasis on the second syllable that you are used to in English, so please stop putting emphasis on the dai in Sendai. The vowels in Japanese are the same as in Spanish so it is relatively simple to pronounce Japanese words. I produced this little Japanese pronunciation tutorial with audio during a raft of news anchor mispronunciations of the word karaoke during the holiday season.
Failure of Closed Social Media Systems – American Chamber of Commerce
ACCJ (American Chamber of Commerce) should be an important resource to American companies doing business in Japan. They have recently put up a Facebook Page and Twitter feed. Unfortunately, they have set their Facebook Page as a fairly closed system that does not encourage others to update. Their LinkedIn Group moderates comments (slowly!) so there is little activity there as well.
Why Japan Will Emerge Stronger After the Earthquake
We were in Japan during the Kobe (Hanshin/Awaji) earthquake in January 1995. Japan refused international assistance during that disaster which proved to be a regrettable decision. The spirit of cooperation both internally and internationally during this horrible tragedy and in the rebuilding to follow should be a positive force.
*Boomer Tech Talk Guide to Technical Words Used in this Article:
Hashtag: Used in Twitter, written #. This is used to create a stream in Twitter of all tweets that include that #. Using the hashtag allows Twitter uses to follow particular topics and events using the search bar in Twitter without needing to go to any particular one source. Twitter refers to some of these hashtags as “trending topics”. You can search for a key word with using the hashtag but the # encourages people to use the same word, making it easy to find a stream of information or commentary on one topic.
SXSW: Stands for South by Southwest. A huge annual music/film/social media conference held in Austin (this year March 11 – March 20, starting shortly after the earthquake hit Japan)
Links: You can click on a live link to get to a website, including a Facebook Page. I have not made the Twitter profiles into live links so when you see @name you need to enter http://Twitter.com/name to get to the link.
We hope that if you are not yet participating in social media, this article has given you one more reason to take that step. Social media can help you cope with a crisis in your personal or business life with immediate information and emotional support.
I would greatly appreciate it if you add useful links that I may have missed in the comments.