“Thank God For Facebook.” Social Media Unites, Raises Millions For Haiti Relief

Earthquake Haiti on Facebook

It’s been a grueling couple of days since the 7.0 earthquake hit Haiti.

At this moment millions are quite literally missing and families all over the world are grappling at any form of communication to possibly get word in or out.

Perhaps if there’s anything remarkable to report on, it’s how social media, be it Twitter or Facebook or Text messages have become a primary source for information and fund-raising that’s down right record-breaking.

As cell phones and landlines quickly became obsolete, throngs in and out of the country turned to social media. Within hours, fund-raising portals were set up at the American Red Cross, the Clinton Foundation and countless others, including celebrity organizations like Wyclef Jean’s YELE.

Reports are early, but according to Mashable, the American Red Cross has already raised $5,000,000 via text messages. Then tonight on Twitter, “@Anncurry: As of 7 pm total donations for Haiti relief through the SMS campaign (texting 90999) is $5.9 Million.” Amazing.

Facebook and Twitter have become gathering areas for loved ones, journalists, iReporters and everyone in between as they try to pluck reliable real-time feedback or simply show their support.

For those of us who’ve been fighting to convince others of the power of social media, but perhaps focusing too much on $$$$ or brand equity, take a step back and look at the past 72 hours. Without social media, the fate of my best friend and her family would still remain unknown. Monies would not have been so easily freed with the click of an iPhone. Now, multiply that by millions.


Social Media & Higher Education

About a week ago, I joined fellow UCI Online Extension professors for eggs and coffee at the annual thank you breakfast. And while the predicted beards, glasses and tweedy jackets made their rounds, the topic of discussion – social media – provided a skosh more relevance. Tweed and social media combined? Oh, say it to me slow…

Social media was discussed as not just a tool but THE tool that will transform education in the classroom. This goes well beyond voice-over PPTs and Webinars, thank God.

Nothing replaces face-time in a classroom, but think about how this may revolutionize the learning environment for the new student, the “millenial” who prefers an on-demand mode of info-gathering. Could they possibly participate MORE in class knowing they can scribble notes later? Hell, they may even quote you. Term papers might even explode in quality *GASP. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves. With innovation comes distraction. Oh, hello Twitter.

So what kind of innovation could we see w/in the next year or so?

Automatic captioning and automatic timing on the ubiquitous YouTube, for example, instantly opens doors for students from all corners of the world, but also for students with disabilities. Need to fast-forward to a particular lecture about Rembrant’s most famous works? What if you could keyword search your prof’s 2-hour lecture in a matter of seconds. Just like Google, a quick search and bam, there’s your factoid for tomorrow’s final. At min. 1:23.

Professors must familiarize themselves with the most popular social media tools and channels if they want to stay relevant. Birmingham City University offers a social media master’s program, but also demonstrates that it’s got the chops through a robust Web site and highly engaged faculty and student blog. Will this replace Moodle?

Makes you want to go back to school, doesn’t it?

Check out AriWriter’s perspective on this topic and more.

Move Over, Hairy Drifter. FourSquare @ Your Local Hop

It’s okay if you’re still scratching your head over the FourSquare piece in the Chicago Tribune.

What is FourSquare? The Trib. describes it nicely:
“Playing Foursquare involves exploring restaurants, pubs and coffee shops in major metro areas. The payoff for playing can range from special deals or freebies at eating and drinking establishments to scoring points, Boy Scout-like badges and ‘mayorships,’ essentially bragging rights for hanging out at particular locations.”

So you earn merit badges and free stuff for places you already go, things you already do. Sweet.

Whoa, Nellie. Cue ye auld business model. Again, via the Tribune:
“Foursquare is focused on getting as many businesses as possible to add discounts and other promotions to Foursquare, said Tristan Walker, who is in charge of business development and is a second-year student at Stanford Business School.”

Are we cool sharing our getaways with another logo? I’m still getting over seeing birdies and “follow us on Facebook” messages on everything from the bus to bathroom walls. Yeesh.

For retailers, this is a no brainer. For the organic and grassroots set, you may need to ask yourself if a corporate partnership will help or harm your brand identify.

Am I complaining? Heck no. It’s called the Virgin America Terminal at LAX. Just a hint.

MSN King IM In the UK

In a word of rapid-fire Facebook Status updates, texts and Tweets, it’s easy to forget about the resilience of IM. Yes, Instant Messaging. Remember that? It’s the thing which first gave HR reps and productivity experts a headache in the 90’s but has managed to survive as a vital communication tool.

Skype, AOL, Yahoo! Messenger, Google Chat, MSN. Many to choose from, but according to Forrester STILL a vital communication tool. And if you’re in the UK, MSN is King.

Why? No doubt the ability to chat from virtually any phone, PDA or blackberry. IDEAL if you’re keeping the conversation away from the ‘rents, boss or teacher. Pocket convos anyone?

Latest: http://www.forrester.com/Research/Document/Excerpt/0,7211,55080,00.html

Idle Thoughts…65 y.o. Author, Marketer Says Essential

New Must-Have Read By Shel Israel

New Must-Have Read By Shel Israel

For those of you still resisting Twitter, take a look at this hefty CNN piece about Shel Israel, well-known public speaker and journalist turned social media master.

Excerpt: “To Israel, it’s the mundane details of one’s life, shared through tweets and status updates, that matter. He believes that tweeting about what you had for lunch can actually help build a meaningful personal or business relationship.”

Think about the last conversation sparked from a tweet or Facebook update. Did you go out and see that movie? Find that secret Labor Day Sale? Take Mom to that recommended cafe?

Ah, Shel. You may be onto something, mate.

His new book, “Twitterville: How Businesses Can Thrive in the New Global Neighborhoods” looks like a must-have weekend read for any marketer, PR pro, or journalist looking to get the most mileage out of those 140 characters.

Buy it here .

Marketing Alternatif, Alternative Marketing

File it under #newblogcrush, check out the very eclectic Marketing Alternatif, a brilliant blog about every kind of marketing spanning online and viral to in-store and on street. Little gems like these make a Friday glow.

Happy Weekend!