Amid the Devastation in the Philippines, Social Media Plays Key Role in Aid


Using Social Media To Help Out

Haiyan, the record breaking typhoon that smashed into the Philippines on November 7th, has caused an unimaginable amount of destruction and devastation. The early death toll numbers are feared to be over 10,000, thousands are still unaccounted for and many hard hit areas are still reeling from the impact. Despite all of this, the people of the Philippines are pulling together to make sure that everything is being done to speed up the recovery effort. At the forefront of this movement, is social media. In the wake of a major event, people have flocked to social media to get news, communicate with each other and even organize themselves. The full power of social media was best displayed by the Egyptian Revolution of 2011, where activists used Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to organize, coordinate and broadcast the protests to the world. Now in the aftermath of Haiyan, Filipino citizens are using social networks to help guide aid to the hardest hit places and to update friends and family on the whereabouts of those still missing.

Immediately after the typhoon had past, Filipinos utilized social media to get a head start on the relief effort. Citizens were able to tag local journalists on Facebook to call media attention to areas of dire need, and post pictures online to document lesser known areas that were also in desperate need of aid. Filipinos also took to social media to document the devastation, by either giving first hand accounts of the situation or by uploading photos onto their Facebook accounts for the world to see. Without these unique stories, who knows how quickly aid would be distributed to the appropriate areas.

We all use social media everyday for a multitude of things, some more productive than others. Whether we are communicating with friends, following our favorite celebrities or coordinating events, social media is embedded in our lives for better or for worse. However, it is during times like these that social media shows it’s true value. The ability to grant individuals a platform to voice themselves to the rest of the world while surrounded by complete and utter destruction cannot be underestimated. Thanks in part to social media, people are getting the help they need faster and more effectively. This reason alone, should be enough for anyone to get behind social media.

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