Social Web’s help for Haiti

With emails from President Obama, tweets in Twitter, and cellphones sending “Text HAITI to 90999 to donate $10 to @RedCross relief,” fixed and mobile social media are raising millions for Haiti earthquake relief. Yesterday (1/14) may’ve been “the biggest day for mobile giving to date, CNET reports, adding that Facebook said its users “have been posting more than 1,500 status updates a minute containing the word Haiti.” The New York Times reports today that “the American Red Cross, which is working with a mobile donations firm called mGive, said Thursday that it had raised more than $5 million this way” and “nearly $35 million” in general by Thursday night, “surpassing the amounts it received in the same time period after Hurricane Katrina and the Indian Ocean tsunami.” This is an important media story for classroom and dinner-table discussion, but parents and teachers will also appreciate this “teachable moment” for new media literacy. Because, unfortunately, “with any urgent call for donations often comes a rash of scams that can pilfer cash or result in identity theft,” another CNET post warns. The article offers advice for applying critical thinking to texted, posted, and tweeted solicitations – and so does the FBI.

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