MAULE, Chile /Neotrope News Network/ — A woman uses her Twitter account to plead for help in locating her missing daughter – and finds her. An aid group puts out an urgent call for water sanitation equipment. A church group with food to offer asks for storage space in the earthquake-devastated city of Concepcion. A new site created by the World Mind Network and Chilean Earthquake Relief helps make these stories happen.
These are examples of how micro-blogging sites, social networks, and cell phone SMS messages are being used to pinpoint immediate needs in quake-ravaged Chile, and get resources and information instantly to where they’re needed. But so many micro-blogging and social network accounts exist; how to find the ones with truly pertinent information?
A centralized website sponsored by Chilean Earthquake Relief and the World Mind Network lists only those Twitter, Google Buzz, and Plurk feeds, Facebook and hi5 postings, local video streams and blog posts which are updated every few minutes and which are known to often carry urgent messages from victims and relief workers. The site is www.chileearthquaketweettracker.net .
Volunteers have been monitoring all the streams on the site so far, but the plan is for 4 teams of students to track all the feeds around the clock. As new useful trackers are found they are added; as old ones become less useful, they are eliminated.
The goal is to list and link to every micro-blogging monitor which consistently displays the most urgent messages. Then the volunteers find ways to get the information to the relevant authorities, including the Red Cross, Save the Children, Oxfam, and Americares. Site operators are using the knowledge they gain to create a “template” for use in future disasters and crises.
For more information, or to volunteer, contact firstname.lastname@example.org .
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Story References: chile, earthquake, twitter, plurk, Facebook, micro-blogging, disaster, world mind network, chilean earthquake relief, crisis, Chile Earthquake Relief Tracker, Concepcion, tweets, portal, track .