This might sound odd, but one of the moments I am proud to be so involved in social media is when a world tragedy strikes. Catastrophes like the earthquake and following tsunami in Japan, have a way of bringing out the true human in everyone. Twitter is filled with inconsequential bantering Facebook contains usually meaningless life updates that go from the mundane to the ridiculous. Blogs are often publicized personal diaries, and always a bit of an obsessive hobby.

But then something horribly tragic and inexplicable happens and the tone changes. We are no longer individual accounts trying to sell our brand, our name or our business. We are all members of a hurting family – the human family. We might not know anyone who drown in the rising flood waters or remained trapped in crumbled buildings; we might have never stepped foot on Japanese soil, but we mourn, cry and pray for our unknown brothers and sisters.

And as social media does better than any other outlet to date, we gather together to offer support in anyway we possibly can. I first learned about the earthquake on Twitter, and rushed to CNN’s website to learn more – but there wasn’t much known at the time. I headed back to Twitter for more up-to-the-minute details and was overwhelmed by the number of people already asking for prayers and sending their own. That common family experience continues today, with people still writing, tweeting and posting about the situation.

For example, the RedCross number to text donate $10 has been floating around Twitter from the moment tragedy struck. Tweets have reminded all of us that life is precious and people need our help. Techies have reminded readers that if they can afford the new iPad 2 they can certainly donate at least a few dollars to the cause. Bloggers are calling for a day of blogging silence, March 18, in which we do not post at all and explain to our readers in another post later in the week why the site will remain quiet that day.

It is these moments when I look around at my fellow bloggers and Twitter-aholics and I smile. We might write about things that are meaningless in the grand scheme of things – but we aren’t oblivious to others. We love. We care. We cry. We give-back And we invite our readers to do the same.

Looking for a way to donate… Google’s Crisis Relief page outlines a number of ways to make a difference. 


Katie Hinderer

Katie Hinderer is a freelance writer and social media enthusiast. She holds a degree in Journalism from Marquette University. Over the years she has transitioned from traditional publishing...