As of right now, the social media response to the March 11 earthquake and tsunami tragedy in Japan is limited. Those who are actually affected by the disaster are in no mood to be Tweeting or blogging right now. As time goes on, there will likely be a number of first-person accounts available to us on the web.
However, there is a significant amount of action going on right now in the social media sphere regarding Japan. Some of it is mainstream news outlets feeding information to their social media consumers, but an even greater percentage is people showing support for the devasted country. Below you will find some examples of support in social media that I have found.
By mid-afternoon the day the tsunami hit, UsWeekly, a celebrity gossip magazine, posted an article featuring celebrity Tweets about Japan. Everyone from Kim Kardashian to Slash had something to say. Here are my favorites:
- Ryan Seacrest: “Glued to TV watching this unreal earthquake footage out of Japan. Sending prayers to everyone affected. Unbelievable.”
- P Diddy: “Oh man yall see this earthquake in japan??????!!!!! Let us pray!!!! God bless Japan!”
- Modern Family‘s Eric Stonestreet: “The news footage is unreal. I know America and Americans will do what we always do. Help. Thoughts and prayers with the Japanese people.”
On a similar note, one celebrity has been tweeting about the tragedy nearly non-stop since the waves hit – George Takei. You probably remember him best as Hikaru Sulu from Star Trek. Since the earthquake, Takei has retweeted news to keep people up-to-date on the happenings in Japan. He has also been tweeting about how people can help.
The likely reason for Takei’s take to the Tweets? His family ties to Japan. By that afternoon Takei had tweeted, “Grateful to confirm that all friends & relatives, including those near epicenter, are safe and accounted for.” Several days later, when the threat of a nuclear meltdown escalated, he tweeted, “The nuke crisis affects me deeply. My aunt & baby cousin died in Hiroshima, found charred by radiation burns.”
Another interesting form of support for Japan comes from Flickr. Someone started a group called 1000 Cranes for Japan with the premise that in Japan, paper cranes are seen as a sign of good fortune and long life. So why 1000? In Japanese culture, it is said that one who folds 1000 paper cranes will have a wish fulfilled. Though the group hasn’t collected 1000 paper crane photos, the love and support can be felt by those who took the time to put a crane out for Japan.
The final piece I will touch on is the ability to donate to help those affected by the tragedy through Facebook. The American Red Cross has set up a Cause on the social networking site, where users can either donate directly, or participate in advertisements to earn donations. The Red Cross has raised nearly $200,000 this way.
And on that note, I give you this video. I found this one interesting because there are no news reporters talking, or anyone talking for that matter … you can hear sirens in the background and the crunching of things as they run into each other. If this video doesn’t send chills down your spine, I don’t know what will.