Use of Social Media, Twitter and Facebook, in Haiti

In the aftermath of Haiti's 2010 earthquake, Twitter played a significant role in rescue efforts on the ground. In one Twitter post read by a Homeland Security (HS) staffer, it gave the location of a victim buried beneath rubble, reportedly still alive. HS was not the only rescue agency to receive such calls. The American Red Cross was also inundated with posts on both Twitter and Facebook.


Earthquake survivors were twittering, texting, and phoning family and friends in the U.S., who passed on information to authorities. HS social media manager, Wendy Harman, said they were overwhelmed with the amount of information pouring in about conditions post the earthquake. Two days passed before HS had a handle on the situation in Haiti.

The 2010 earthquake set back the country and its social and political infrastructure. Nowhere has this breakdown been more frustrating than with women's groups. According to actor, Maria Bello, women's groups have been short-changed on funding from the government of Haiti (GOH).

Frustrated at trying to effect change at the bureaucratic level, Bello began We Advance University. It is an Internet and mobile app that helps women's groups connect with each other. Two areas of focus are emphasized: a services directory and an educational resource center. Women can access resources like a rape crisis center, or legal aid support for a rape case. Bello wants to open a dialogue, imitating Oprah Winfrey's format, utilizing social networking like Twitter and Facebook. As she says, "It's a revelation revolution."

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