Yesterday, Tom posted on the broad sociological insights emerging around online social media. Today, here’s a glimpse of these tools at work right now.

With Hurricanes Gustav and Hanna now behind us and with Hurricane Ike on the way, the websites of groups like the American Red Cross, Habitat for Humanity, Catholic Relief Services, and dozens more are getting a fundraising workout.

But, far less well known are the uses to which the Web’s social media tools –Facebook, Twitter, Google Maps, blogs, etc. – are being put to mobilize volunteers, shelter, and other resources to assist those in the paths of the storm.

While these storms are fresh in your mind I urge you to read the piece by Andy Carvin, National Public Radio’s Social Media Strategist on “Mobilizing the Online Community for Hurricane Season.”

Andy is a pioneer in the use of social media tools in disaster response. Among a long list of his contributions is the SEPT11INFO forum used to dispel rumors and get the facts out following 9/11…the Southeast Asia Earthquake and Tsunami Blog…and Katrina Aftermath.

Take the time to read the links embedded in Andy’s piece. They stand as tributes to the thousands of volunteers who do everything from making Google Maps of escape routes from hurricanes, to organizing shelter and other life-giving aid. Not only will you get a fascinating glimpse of this little know world, but you’ll find dozens of examples that you can adapt for the causes and organizations you care about.

Andy, you deserve a raise!

 

Roger

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