In the recent political turmoil in the Middle Eastern and African countries, the role of the Internet was undeniably strong. Facebook was used to gather mass support during political upheavals in some of these countries. Without such Internet propaganda, the world would never have become aware of the situation in these countries. The UN would not have intervened so promptly. During the earthquake in Japan too, the kind of momentum that the Internet created was unprecedented. With not much effort-at least not as much effort as would have been necessary through offline means-the world was brought together financially and emotionally to help Japan through its crisis.
This is not to say that these problems were remedied or mitigated because of the Internet. That’s not true. The Internet was not the main benefactor here. Even without the Internet, things would have eventually got better but, one thing cannot be refuted-the Internet definitely catalyzed things into happening sooner. It put a pace on the progress. That was all that was needed at that time.
One aspect of the Internet has been brought to the fore through all of this. It has become lucid to people of the world that the Internet, and especially the social media, can be used to help countries out of their natural disasters.
Also people often start creating their own websites to help provide a more interactive personalized approach, all aimed at trying to galvanize people into to doing something. Once these websites have been created, people often use them as a way of pooling information and resources to help that country that has been afflicted by a natural disaster.
The biggest mobilization of resources can be done through popular social media websites such as Facebook which have a global reach. By making general posts on these websites, the global people are made to understand the victim nation’s suffering. When they read about stories of the sufferers, they feel more united with the victims. They understand that these people are not too different from them, and calamity could have struck anywhere. This is an entirely different kind of scenario. This is not passive news as is contained in newspapers or even television channels; on the Internet, the things are live. People are almost getting a blow by blow account of the suffering country.
Several voluntary groups were formed on popular social networking websites to help Japan earthquake victims. This is an emphatic way to provide relief to the victims of a natural disaster. Efforts can be made to send monetary help, food, clothing, and even send people as volunteers to work in affected parts of the world. Even government policies can be changed by such global exposure. Governments feel pressure to do something more for their own suffering people because the world is watching.
Putting videos on YouTube can have a much stronger impact. When people actually see things happening, it brings everything much closer to home. People are compelled into action.
But, the most important thing that the Internet creates whenever there is a natural disaster in any part of the world is that it creates a strong feeling of humanity across continents. People feel that they are in it together; that they have to collectively work in order to resolve, or at least provide some kind of relief, to the situation.
The Internet does not solve the issue, but it definitely helps suffering victims to see the light of a better day sooner.