Haiti and Social Media

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Whereas Twitter played a major role in the 2009 revolutions in Iran, it may not have been that useful during the recent Haiti crisis. Joshua Keating, editor at Foreign Policy, discusses why Twitter may have failed us; and Andy Carvin, Senior Strategist for Social Media at NPR looks at how social media in general played into the post-earthquake operations, including new media Crisis Camps.


Andy Carvin and Joshua Keating

Comments [16]

Mark Underwood from Port Wash NY

Twitter's not a fad. Mobile communications are critically important in these disaster scenarios. See for an unfunded DARPA initiative to address this. The Crisis camps help to bridge a big gap that is well understood by those involved in relief operations, but a larger sustained effort is needed.

Feb. 10 2010 11:01 AM
the truth!! from BKNY

Hey John, how 'bout that - Happens every once in while.

Feb. 10 2010 11:01 AM
Glenn from Queens

Haiti needs food, water, and an infrastructure to rebuild itself. Twitter needs to be put on the back burner in the short term. This episode is not relevant.

Feb. 10 2010 10:58 AM
Foxiiux from NYC

Could you do better at contrasting apples and oranges than choosing to complain that twitter didn't work so well in an enormous natural disaster vs. planning political protests?

And then complain about the localized information, etc. for a guy sitting in his chair in the U.S.? Who doesn't even speak kreyole? How much more clueless can you be?

BTW, Richard Morse, of RAM, twitter constantly, and still twitters, and his news was and remains the most accurate on the ground we can gather.

Feb. 10 2010 10:58 AM
john from office

Truth, we agree on something!!!! wow!!!

Feb. 10 2010 10:57 AM
the truth!! from BKNY

ahhh the media...this segment is a waste..why aren't we discussing feeding the hungry or burying the dead?

Feb. 10 2010 10:56 AM
john from office

These people in Haiti are hungry, for food and shelter. Please the world does not revolve around the latest internet fad.

Feb. 10 2010 10:55 AM
wlerik from Washington DC

Big fan of Andy Carvin and his organization of three Crisis Camps for Haiti.

Feb. 10 2010 10:54 AM
Michael S. from UES

It's likely that Twitter doesn't work best in natural disaster situations since power and telephone lines can be knocked out. And to expect that a poor country like Haiti to use Twitter is foolish. Twitter requires a mobile phone or computer with internet connection. Those are luxuries.

Feb. 10 2010 10:53 AM
Leatrice Wharton from Brooklyn

"Did Twitter Fail Haiti?" isn't what he's asking. He's just complaining that he couldn't get news of Haiti conveniently enough, from Twitter. A "luxury problem," to be sure!

Feb. 10 2010 10:52 AM
Betty Anne from UES

Twitter has also failed in the healthcare debate. A real debate with lots of important bits of information.

I think twitter worked for the Iran protests because it was new therefore newsworthy.

Feb. 10 2010 10:50 AM
Martha from Hoboken

Twitter can be delivered to your cell phone. I realize this is also a luxury, but not quite the same luxury as having a computer/Internet access/electricity.

Feb. 10 2010 10:50 AM
goWAnus from nyc

you're forgetting brian williams coming on the The Daily Show announcing nbc was there before the US Military - if that is shameless and disgusting corporate promotion in the face of human suffering - what is?

Feb. 10 2010 10:46 AM
john from office

Of Course the media, obsessed with itself, is facebooking and twittering and blogging about themselves and their observation of people's suffering. Self important navel gazing.

Feb. 10 2010 09:42 AM
john from office

Hugh, your right on the money, it is a silly premise for an episode. Iran has a well educated and relativly affulent middleclass.

Haitians are not facebooking and twittering, they are worried about eating.

Feb. 10 2010 09:37 AM
Hugh Sansom from Brooklyn NY

One simple thought: Twitter requires (1) an intact electrical system and (2) population that is sufficiently well-off to have sustained connections to the internet.

Feb. 10 2010 09:28 AM

Leave a Comment

Email addresses are required but never displayed.

Get the WNYC Morning Brief in your inbox.
We'll send you our top 5 stories every day, plus breaking news and weather.