“Many Americans were more eagerly anticipating Steve Job’s address in San Francisco on Wednesday morning than the president’s that night because they have far more confidence in Apple than Washington to produce concrete change.”—Frank Rich, New York Times OpEd 1/31/10
I originally bought into twitter as a news feed to fill my need for international political happenings. I followed @financialtimes, @berlaymont and some others who met that specific need. But as time passed I learned that twitter is more about interaction than it is about being an RSS feed. It’s a way that not for profits interact with their supporters. How businesses interact with their customers. How friends interact with friends. I’ve come to see first hand how valuable this interaction can be to all of these communities.
So I want to make a suggestion to my friends in the news biz. Yes, you get a lot of RTs because you break news. Lots of people follow you, and you provide an easy gateway to specific articles. Big deal.
You want to know what might make me want to purchase a subscription to your paper when your salesperson calls me this week? Interact with me. Don’t just be one sided. I’ve got RSS feeds for that. If I ask you a question every once and a while, answer it. If I mention you in a positive or negative way, shoot me a DM and follow up. I promise you that if you form this type of relationship with me I am actually going to think about buying your rag.
Twitter creates a unique opportunity to interact with potential customers. It levels the playing field. I dare you to quit being the only people on twitter who sit in the press box.
Haiti was hit yesterday by what could be considered the worst natural disaster for the region in the last 200 years.
An earthquake with an estimated magnitude of 7.0, shocked the country just before 5 p.m. on Tuesday, collapsing buildings and cutting water and electricity services in Port-au-Prince and surrounding areas. Aftershocks of 4.5 magnitude or higher continued through the night and early Wednesday, thwarting immediate aid efforts for an estimated 3 million affected by the quake. Thousands are expected dead or injured and many more will be displaced with their homes reduced to rubble.
Photo courtesy of @LisandroSuero. charity: water’s two local partners, Partners in Health and Concern Worldwide, are reacting to the disaster swiftly and comprehensively. We need your support. In the interest of immediate relief, we’re asking that donations be made straight to our partners.
To donate to Concern Worldwide’s efforts, click here. To donate to Partners in Health’s efforts, click here.
Already one of the poorest and densely-populated countries in the Western Hemisphere, Haiti has struggled to overcome the effects of a slew of rough storms in 2008 before this week’s disaster. More than 4 million people (42% of the population) already lack access to safe drinking water. Disasters undercut development efforts tremendously.
Here’s a note from our Water Programs Director, Becky Straw:
I remember the quake in 1989. The magnitude 7.0 struck a few miles from my home in Northern California. The quake collapsed the Bay Bridge and left thousands homeless. So I cannot imagine a 7.0 earthquake hitting the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere.
Scott and I traveled to Haiti twice last year, visiting the work of Partners in Health and Concern Worldwide. I have been in touch with both organizations this morning. They are already helping on the ground as they assess further damages and wait for additional emergency response teams en route. Partners in Health is reporting that the entire capitol city has been cut off from medical services and water. PIH operates one of the only pharmacies in the country; they are focusing on stocking medication and are treating an influx of patients. Both organizations worked during the 2008 storms and so they have already established emergency contingency plans for natural disaster situations.
charity: water is not a relief organization. But our partners in Haiti are. We have seen firsthand their organizational strength, supply chains and logistical capacity. We encourage you to donate directly to them to provide medical support, shelter, and clean water.
I told Partners in Health and Concern Worldwide that charity: water and our supporters are behind them. Thank you for your support during this crisis.
“Every day, hundreds of millions of people use the Internet to blog and tweet and IM and Facebook, as if it were the most natural thing in the world. And it is. The tools are new, but the behaviors come naturally. Because the rise of social media is actually a reprise, a return to the natural order.”—June Cohen, The Rise of Social Media is Really a Reprise