Over the span of the last two weeks we have witnessed both the power and the folly of new media.
The blogosphere, twitterverse and other online forums proved to be effective rapid-reaction communications tools when a massive earthquake devastated Haiti on Jan. 12. Outside Haiti, the Internet exploded with posts and tweets providing donation information, suggestions to help people search for loved ones and heartfelt entreaties to lend a helping hand. From inside Haiti survivors tweeted eyewitness accounts and offered to help locate loved ones, uploaded information to MySpace, YouTube and Facebook.
Did all this online activity dig people out from under collapsed buildings? Did it put bandages on bleeding wounds? No, of course not.
But it did provide an almost immediate platform for people to come together, share information and reach out with compassion and do what they could to help Haiti.