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How important have social media like Facebook, Twitter and mixi been in disseminating information and organizing quake relief aid activities during the current crisis in Japan?

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In my case it has been important to be able to link up to the NHK english site as well as Google some items that i couldn't get on american t.v. The World's ever changing problems happen so fast,it is important to grasp whatever one can!

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I haven't done a study on this yet, if you wait till after I have my morning coffee I'll get right on it and give a complete report of the way social networks have helped and how much money they have generated. Or maybe not.

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Actually if you go to the CNN home page they are running a video bit about social sites here in Japan and the growing anger towards TEPCO. Of course that site looks like 2chan, I guess they couldn't find any normal Japanese to interview so they went to the site here that is used for mostly illegal activities like drug deals, prostitution and so on, like a craigs list type of underground site.

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The Meat Guy has been posting some great things on Facebook. Today there is an event today asking for people to bring things that evacuees need, offering a place he owns that he will let evacuees stay for free as well as other great thoughts and ideas to help out.

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For those of us who live in the real world, zero effect...

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For those of us who live in the real world, zero effect...

Actually for those of us who live in the real world it has had a massive effect. Updating people on everyone's whereabouts before it became apparent where the quake was or the impact of the tsunami. Allowing people to contact with each other when phones and emails were down. And allowing groups such as the Foreign Volunteers Japan to establish.

A group that sent three 2 ton trucks to Fukushima and Kesennuma yesterday. The people there live in the real world and I'm pretty sure they will appreciate the aid that was delivered.

Personally, I can't speak highly enough for the way that Facebook has been useful. And given that 'Quakebook' originated from Twitter and is raising a lot of money for the Red Cross, then I think it's fair to say they've also been important.

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Not only facebook or twitter, but also social networks like couchsurfing has helped spread a lot of information about what is going on in Japan, and people could get connected with info about volunteering and donations. Social networks online is becoming a bigger and bigger thing in peoples way of gathering information.

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For you and me who can access the social media such as facebook, e-discussion platforms, etc, it has had a huge effect. However and paradoxically, the people who need this information such as those affected by the radiations are now living in camps without such electronic channels. their needs are also many including security, weather, food, settlement etc. It is therefore difficult for them to access this media and voice their concerns and contribute to the debate. Other forms of message dissemination such as radio and word of mouth could be sought. This appears stone age stuff but unfortunately for now, it is the one working with these displaced needy people. Briefly, the social media is informing and shaping debate, EXCLUDING those most affected by the calamity, who currently wallow in confusion, uncertainty and hopelessness!!

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Facebook was useful during immanent aftermath of the quake cos I was able to get word out I was still kicking it, but all the whinging and bitching on mixi about TEPCO is bloody ridiculous!

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"For you and me who can access the social media such as facebook, e-discussion platforms, etc, it has had a huge effect."

Huge effect? It changed your life? Saved your life? Doubt it. They are just another source of info and in this case something like the 100th source of info. It's different than say in a country where there is no freedom of expression that only has the net.

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Without Facebook and Twitter we simply wouldn't have much information on the quake and what was going on. These mediums allow people to pass useful links and debate the merit of others. Overseas media proved that it couldn't be trusted. Social media also offered blogs with good translations from the Japanese media. Twitter and Facebook helped people find these links very quickly. Sites like this one had some helpful links, but ultimately suffered from being heavily moderated, slow to react and having staff unable to translate useful content fast enough to be relevant.

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j4p4nFTW.

How do you know that you can trust the info posted on FB and Twitter by unknown/unverified sources?

The more we rely on the Net the more we NEED to be able to weed out the good from the bad. Sad thing is that most people tend to say "If it is on the net, etc it can be trusted".

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Zenny,

That's the point. What's posted on FB or Twitter there gets checked out by hundreds of followers. People I know and trust offer their opinion on the piece in question. We can all weigh in with our opinions.

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j4p4nFTW.

Glad you trust the info online.

I DON'T as I been working in the IT industry for a looong time, anyone can post any garbage online and sound like an informed or skilled person.

Wiki is a prime example some good info there but at the same time anyone can edit the info to their liking.

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Example check this;

ht tp:// w w w .dhmo.org / facts.html - remove spaces.

Sounds bad and alarming. Another term for DHMO is H20.

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Come on Zenny, if anything these past weeks have taught us is that you can't seem to trust any of the news outlets. CNN is just making it up on some pieces it seems.

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Where did I say that I trust CNN, BBC, NHK, etc? You are reaching now here.

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Zenny,

Again, you're proving my point. FB and Twitter help put more eyeballs on articles and information so the not so good stuff can be sniffed out.

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j4p4nFTW.

My point is it does that while at the same time also misinform a LOT of people who will lap it up like some kool-aid and proclaim it as gospel/truth.

But it looks like we agree in essence.

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"Where did I say that I trust CNN, BBC, NHK, etc? You are reaching now here."

You didn't but you make an argument that on-line can't be trusted and I'm just pointing out that none of it can be trusted fully.

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RobertCB.

Than we are in agreement. Any form of media can be used to distribute correct and invalid information.

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115.4 billion yen in donations raised by charities. So far none of that has been distributed to people who have been affected.

50 tons of aid delivered by the FVJ. A facebook group.

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For me anyway, Facebook has been the single most important source of news & means of sharing information since the earthquake happened:

During or shortly after the quake several friends (and myself) had posted updates so within minutes of it happening I had a snapshot of peoples' experiences and tidbits of info about what's going on in the city and elsewhere as well as reassuranes everyone was okay. For two hours after the quake I couldn't use my mobile phone for calls but could access the net.

Since then it's proven remarkably efficient at delivering information whether it's blogs (for example by nuclear scientists), well-written news articles, data readings on the radiation, scientific analysis. When the first blackouts were scheduled I read the schedule on Facebook before anywhere else, and within an hour an English translation had also shown up. There's also an inbuilt quality control in social media where rubbish articles get filtered out quickly, while the good stuff gets shared and spreads.

Then for people back home who were reading the sensationalized crap in the media there, it's through Facebook and other social media that we were able to reassure everyone that we were in fact, perfectly fine in Tokyo (with photographic proof!) while only taking a few minutes out the day to do so - Note: not living in some kind of sad virtual world as some people seem to believe.

Like I said, it's the efficiency of the social media that sets it apart from the old media sources.

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yokomoc.

I don't do social networking, but I got the same stuff/info done as you did with IM, Forums, E-Mail, web-sites, etc.

As for quality control on social networks I would like some sources/proofs.

Don't get me wrong I tried social networking but like so many others we found it more of a pain than helpful. Granted all of us are older and been online for like 30+yrs. :)

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Forgot, IP-phone helped me to connect friends, family, etc while land-lines and Cel-phones were down too.

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I don't do social networking, but I got the same stuff/info done as you did with IM, Forums, E-Mail, web-sites, etc.

Hey I don't doubt that but with IM you can only reasonably chat with a few people at once without it taking up all your time, and you both have to be avaiable at the time. You can also IM on Facebook.

With email you can contact a lot of people at once but addresses may be out of date, you spend an age getting the addresses of all the people you want to contact (unless you're super-prepared and have an "everyone to contact in an emergency" list!), you then get hit with countless replies to your inbox, some of them out of office messages etc. and if people don't Reply All then your sending further individual replies and if people do Reply All then someone who you barely know may end up with an inbox full of emails from strangers.

As for quality control on social networks I would like some sources/proofs.

I would too - it would be good research, though quantifying quality control isn't simple. On this I'm speaking purely from personal experience - the information that I've accessed through friends' posts on Facebook was of a much higher quality than going directly to any news site, forum, blog etc.

Consider this, a researcher blogs about nuclear energy as a hobby - typical audience would not be very large. Suddenly the desire arises in the general to have some informed opinions about nuclear reactors, radiation dangers etc. The guy posts a blog analysing the Fukushima situation and giving his analysis. Whereas normally his post would go largely unnoticed, people he know decide to share this with the greater world who are delighted to read an informed opinion and pass it on the their friends...etc. It only takes a few hours to reach a huge number of people.

This is basically what happened - except wasn't a single blogger it was a number of them, so you would also have had the ability to check postings off against each other and weed out any charlatans or misinterpretations fairly quickly.

Now the SAME thing happens with email and forums but the time it takes to spread is much greater and it can take longer before any misinformation is shown up. Efficiency is the key here.

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Yokomoc.

I can be very efficient when I need to be, at the same time I DON'T(like most foreigners living in japan) need to wait for or rely on translations to get my info.

Many of my friends that did Social Networking turned it off as the noise to signal ratio jut got too bad.

I rather IM, etc with trusted friends than browse through a FB, etc log that has a lot of fluff.

Just me.

P.S.: Efficiency don't come from the tools but from how you use them. ;)

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I DON'T(like most foreigners living in japan) need to wait for or rely on translations to get my info.

Likewise, but I know a lot of people who don't read Kanji well or at all.

You do get people who post constant fluff but the good thing is you can hide posts from specific people or apps etc. After a bit of fine-tuning my feed is pretty well balanced, with the odd crap music video from Youtube thrown in :D

Efficiency don't come from the tools but from how you use them.

Ahaha, well the correct answer is it's both the tools and the user ;)

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Yokomoc.

Not sure if I said it here or on another threat.

Social networking made us think/believe we are entitled to instant updates, etc (like when a worker on the site farts, etc). And therein lies the danger too, we get updates and notes that have NOT been verified, authenticated, etc.

So in the end we still need to sort the wheat from the chaff.

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Zenny11; People who cannot use common sense to judge information on these sites should not have access to them. I havemet quite afew people who brag about their uni education but they will believe any old rubbish from FB or Twitter.Obviously high education does not always equate to high common sense.

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stevecpfc.

Agree and met many similar people in my job, who recalculated every computer generated report, etc we produced.

But we are going off-topic.

Moderator: Indeed you are.

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Social networking made us think/believe we are entitled to instant updates, etc (like when a worker on the site farts, etc).

This hasn't been my experience. And if you don't use social media then how would you know this? This is just your perception.

So in the end we still need to sort the wheat from the chaff.

Of course, but it helps when you get more wheat and less chaff.

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yokomoc.

Like I said I been using computers and the net for a very long time professionally & private, experience tells me that as well as the experience of many others.

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Hit enter too soon.

The users of the net haven't improved since the days of BBS, USENet, etc. You recall those days?

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The users of the net haven't improved since the days of BBS, USENet, etc. You recall those days?

Lol don't start me, but why are you arguing about the users? The article is about Facebook and social media as news delivery systems which have been excellent in my experience. You can't account for people being stupid.

BUT, if you do want to discuss users I've found that they way people use it has much improved even in the last year or so, although I never really found people posting the much ridiculed "what I ate for breakfast" updates anyway.

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Yokomoc.

Reread what I wrote.

Your average net-user is simply not very savvy and don't use the best tools properly. There is an old saying in my profession and is that your average user uses less than 10% of the softwares capabilities that he is supplied with.

And social networking software like FB, Twitter, etc don't change the facts. Like a Prius, etc won't make you a better or safer driver than your old ride.

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Your average net-user is simply not very savvy

In what sense? Your average 'savviness' of net users is constantly on the increase. Anyway this is, again, OT and irrelevant to the what the discussion is supposed to be about.

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Forgot to add.

A few forums put me into direct contacts with overseas(USA, etc) teams that are out here doing relief efforts, etc. As well as people(retired now) whose teams are also out here.

Those are contacts I would never have via FB as all the interest we share is a hobby, etc.

How many people know about the Canadian HAZMAT team that was ready to fly to japan but never left as the owner of their plane was worried about radiation getting on the tires and thus cancelled the flight. They are still in Canada.

Like I said FB, etc is no better than other sources of info.

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well I found a relative of some young kid from Kesennuma using Mixi and Facebook( she was homestaying in Australia and her family were all uncontactable until her uncle popped up in the mixi messageboards. I know the Mixi communities were amazing in disseminating information.I guess Twitter was very useful too.I am actually thinking about starting a twitter account myself as it seems very efficient.

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Would be interested in how many people connected via Mixi, etc and via the 171 number/site, etc as well as other local sites.

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