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Japan’s Earthquake Shows The Strength of Social Networking

Social networks become preferred lines of communication during Japan earthquake.

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In the US, we can only imagine the devastation which occurred in Japan, and continues to occur as reports roll in concerning higher death tolls and more people missing. One of the scariest factors many don’t consider when an event like this occurs is how the avenues of communication shut down.

Telephone lines are reported to be down for most of Japan, and getting a hold of loved ones is a difficult task to undertake. As reports surface, messages from Facebook and Twitter provide the latest news. Doing a bit of research shows how the human spirit can be found within the social media platforms.

Kotaku, a video game related site, posted an interesting article concerning how many japanese video game developers are tweeting their experiences. One developer went so far as to open their studio doors to strangers, relying on Twitter to accept invitations.

Masahiro Sakurai, a famous video game developer posted a startling image on Twitter of an almost always crowded Tokyo road being completely deserted.

Deserted Tokyo road

George Takei, a famous japanese-american actor, has been tweeting non-stop trying to inspire people to donate to the Red Cross.

RT @BBC_WNA Kyoto news reports about 88,000 people missing: http://bbc.in/h2nC0S Text REDCROSS to 90999 to give $10. 23 minutes ago via HootSuite · powered by @socialditto

Obtaining information about where to find shelters has moved to Twitter as well, with locations being posted on Google Maps. And lists of locations becoming available as well.

Shelters have been open to people stranded in Tokyo tonight. The full list here. http://bit.ly/idHCRT #Tokyoearthquake 6 hours ago via web · powered by @socialditto

A Google map of all the public shelters open tonight in Tokyo. It’s in Japanese, but it may help. http://bit.ly/hM50Jd 4 hours ago via web · powered by @socialditto

As WebProNews reported earlier, earthquake related tweets have been trending all morning. People have been expressing concern, and sympathy as the death and missing tolls rise.

Tsunami warnings have been issued to various locations around the Pacific Ocean, and millions of social media accounts will be staying tuned for the latest updates. Let’s hope we don’t have to receive any.

Japan’s Earthquake Shows The Strength of Social Networking
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  • http://www.jnd-solutions.com Steve Green

    Social networking works, only if
    A) you have an internet feed
    B) the comms infrastructure is working
    C) the telephone network is not at capacity.

    The only guarenteed method is by verbal comms, either direct or conventional radio.

  • Cliff Marsh

    Personally, I think that it’s a bit ‘tasteless’ trying to promote a website at the expense of other peoples high-profile devastation and misery; perhaps offering to send help in one form or another would be more appreciated?

  • http://www.purocleanpers.com Kristine Allcroft

    Many many thank yous for publishing this info. Have re-tweeted & posted to FB.

  • http://photomonimaker.multiply.com Ajes

    I doubt so. When there is disaster time to safe and rescue…did you still got time to open internet and chatting? Social networking only for those free and easy to occupy their time.

    • Pam Crome

      True – but there is always at least one bystander who uses their smart phone to record and text the event as it happens. It may be a last “call for help.” I keep my charged phone with me at all times and am prepared to text, take a picture or capture a video if the circumstances are appropriate.

  • http://photomonimaker.multiply.com Ajes

    I doubt so. During disaster peoples more focus on rescue and to safe life Are this peoples still so free to open internet and chatting? Sure not right!

  • WTF

    SM will be useless in true catastrophe. No power, think about it, silly question.

  • http://www.techmanage.net Joanne Gucwa

    We are on a business and ski trip and hadn’t yet heard the news of the Japan earthquake when my godchild posted a query on my Facebook page, as my husband is Japanese and all his family is there.

    So yes, although we would have eventually heard about it, the early “heads up” allowed us to contact family, friends and colleagues as well as check the newsfeeds.

    In response to those who view social networking as a time-waster, let me suggest that tech tools are what you make of them — frivolous or vital communication links, especially in emergencies.

  • Pam Crome

    I learned of the earthquake via twitter minutes before it was reported on major news media. I check twitter more often than I tune into the news. YES … it will be vital during national and international events.

  • http://Greatforrevolutions.Greatfordisasters james harrison

    great way to free up phone lines and contact many people at once regarding status of loved ones. it also raises awareness and makes allocation of resources easier.

  • sk

    I think that social networking will help bridge the gap. In what has happened to Japan.

  • Greg

    I find it absolutely disgusting how you are trying to take advantage of this tragic event. Only a US firm would stoop so low.

  • http://sheevaunmoran.com/peace/ Sheevaun

    When the Northridge quake hit Los Angeles the roads didn’t empty like the picture. I drove to my office that morning and got there in 20 minutes when it usually took 90 because of traffic. The city becomes very quiet as everyone tries to handle what happened and continues to evolve.

    Many prayers on the etheric social network that is never down or inaccessible, to the entire area.

  • http://www.jomwall.com social networking

    With the huge benefits that it can provide to businesses, there is no doubt why the demand for this type of software continues to grow. Fortunately though, this software is not hard to find with all the different vendors currently available online. It’s just a matter of knowing and evaluating the features and functionalities being offered by a website. In short, with social networking you can create a community and community brings profit to your business. Now you can make your own business community and add niche people for your business online.

  • http://www.socialnetworkingbutterfly.com SNButterfly

    While some people think that social networking is pointless because of no electricity I disagree. The news travels everywhere and people around the world can be updated on the situation. So while it might not be prevalent in the immediate area, people can still keep up-to-date where loved ones might be and send donations. Also, I think it’s important for the Japanese people to see that we do think about them in the situation even after the fact. A mum world would be unfortunate. Many of the supporting messages will be a part of history.

  • http://www.hedgehogdigital.co.uk/ SEO Bedford

    I think Social Media already proven its power now it is only a mater of people and authorities making adequate use of it when catastrophes like that happen again.

    • http://HumanityRoad.org Bettie

      I’ve read through the comments and it is apparent that many of the replies are from people who have never witnessed the power of social media in disaster/crisis response. I have. It works. SMS texting works when most other means of communication are down. Lives have been saved in Haiti after their EQ in Jan 2010, in Pakistan after the floods, in New Zealand after their recent earthquake and, yes, in Japan.

      For those of you not aware of the power of social media in assisting in times of emergency, you might want to read up on it before criticizing someone for putting it to work to help people around the world. One day you might need it.

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