We are learning so much about the group dynamic these days. I mean the REALLY BIG group dynamic…What does it say when a record amount of money is donated in a record period of time during a time of economic uncertainty?
This seems NOT to be about party politics or religion, but about humankind displaying a reflexive reaction to the tragedy in Haiti. Thanks to all modes of digital communications, people can direct their giving immediately, by texting, tweeting, posting, through e-donating and e-buying. And these channels, being what they are, provide an immediate accounting of this flood of goodwill. As of this writing, The Red Cross alone has raised $147 million in the US, including $25 million from text messages. That needs to sink in… $25 million (and counting) in two weeks, raised by individuals, reacting on impulse and TEXTING their donations, $10 at time. And that does not take into consideration other channels and organizations, such as this past weekend’s “Hope for Haiti Now” fundraising concert which donated funds to Wyclef Jean’s Yele Haiti Foundation, Oxfam America, UNICEF, the United Nations World Food Program, the recently formed Clinton Bush Haiti Foundation, as well as the Red Cross.
The channels to communicate and contribute are as unfettered as they could possibly be for our time. If 9/11 was the opening chapter of technology-driven news, and the Tsunami (2004) and Hurricane Katrina (2005) relief efforts demonstrated how the internet could serve as a viable donation response channel, then perhaps the earthquake in Haiti is the event that will mark the coming of age of social media. During the past two weeks, “Haiti” has been a consistently trending topic on twitter and ever-present on facebook statuses worldwide. People all over the globe are using social media and mobile channels to come together and help others in desperate need. Never have so many offered so much, so quickly. Over the next weeks and months, we will learn whether or not governments and corporations can mobilize as quickly as the masses that have surged to support the relief effort.
The stories of death and destruction continue to mount in what surfacing as one of the singularly most horrifying natural disasters in history. That our society is attempting to respond in equal magnitude, through untested channels is a testament to the human spirit, and a reason to have unbounding hope.