• iPhone Among Tools Helping Haiti Earthquake Victims

    As one of the worst natural disasters recorded in human history and likely the most cataclysmic documented in the digital age, the victims left in the wake of the January 12th earthquake that reduced Haiti to rubble are receiving financial aid from around the world, much of which has been made possible via the power of smartphones like the iPhone and social networking platforms.

    From The New York Times:

    Old-fashioned television telethons can stretch on for hours. But the latest charity appeal is short enough for Twitter: "Text HAITI to 90999 to donate $10 to @RedCross relief." In the aftermath of the earthquake in Haiti, many Americans are reaching for their cellphones to make a donation via text message. And plenty of them are then spreading the word to others on sites like Twitter and Facebook.
    For a moment, social media is retreating from its primary use as a casual tool to keep contact with friends. Instead, the power of mobile technology is being harnessed to help those now facing unprecedented human suffering in Haiti. And, to date, the results have proven nearly breathtaking.

    "There is an enormous outpouring for this effort," said Wendy Harman, social media manager at the Red Cross. "It's such an easy way to give and pass around through social sites on the Web." The mobile donations are part of a larger surge of money flowing to the relief effort. The Red Cross said it had collected nearly $35 million as of Thursday night, surpassing the amounts it received in the same time period after Hurricane Katrina and the Indian Ocean tsunami.
    From large media outlets using social media like Twitter to cover happenings on the ground in Haiti, to websites across the blogosphere using digital real estate to drive funds to Haiti and the Red Cross, social networking has suspended all silliness and selflessly rallied behind a human emergency of epic proportions.

    The Red Cross expects that donations made through more established channels - writing a check or on the Web - will still far outweigh text-message giving. But the cellphone campaign may be reaching people who might not otherwise have made the effort to get involved.
    More than $5 million has already been raised for the Red Cross through text-driven donations alone. Microsoft and Google have also pledged $1.5 million and $1 million, respectively.

    To get involved or help in the fundraising efforts, please visit the Red Cross website for more information.
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