Jeff introduces the panel, talking about Ann Curry tweeting about Doctor’s Without Borders plane trying to land in Haiti, and her tweeting to the AirForce to find a place for it to land. And they did!
Another panel member had a unit on the ground rescuing people based on Twitter traffic! “An open hailing frequency to help each other.”
This promises to be some powerful stuff:
Ann Curry – NBC News, @anncurry
Luke Renner – Founder, Fireside International, @firesideint
Lt. Aliza Landes – Lt. Head of New Media, IDF, @idfspokesperson
Major David Faggard – US Air Force, @usairforce
Nate Erickson – Intern w/Wyclef Jean, @nateerickson
David: Haiti proved the American people care, all the way up to the senior levels of the military. “When we saw the first pictures coming back from Haiti, we had to do something. Within a day we had AF special operative medical teams [on the ground].” Also, troops establishing runways, ports. “Disaster like this is nothing new for the Air Force, even in 2005 Hurricane Katrina we were using Google Maps, overlaying Google Maps over the city of NO because our maps weren’t updated.
(as a resident of Haiti, how did this effect you?)
Luke: (crying) “I’ve seen lives saved because of this thing called Twitter. I had ten people following me on the day of the Earthquake – I was basically a non-user with an account.” Twitter was the stream that was delivering the most information to him on the ground in Haiti – put up his phone number! And the first call he got was from Ann Curry.
[This is so powerful, wow]
“As soon as I hung up I realized the game changed in how social media can save lifes.” Ran to Port-o-Prince, spent four weeks doing whatever he could do. “Thank you to every single one of you who has tirelessly used this tool to save lives in Haiti. … I can personally tell you I’ve seen it happen, it’s not just this fanciful idea, I’ve seen the resources be connected, and I’ve seen lives be saved.”
(Jeff: When I met you, you were working for Wyclef)
Nate: “I had been at work that day, heard there was an earthquake, but wasn’t sure what was going on.” He thought, why this? – on top of everything else that was happening in the country. Some brief laugher about how he almost got fired from his day job as he managed the explosion of calls to Wyclef and his organization (including Kobe Bryant). Experienced everything from people wanting to help to kids wanting to contact their grandparents in the country.
Aliza: Twitter was a tool that created results. They mined and vetted information – from her post in Jerusalem, and she dispatched that to troops on the ground in Haiti. Twitter was in many cases the one lifeline between people who needed aid (or needed to provide aid).
“We had a 5yr old boy come in and be diagnosed with leukiama, and he had to get to an american hospital immediately … he would probably be dead if not for Twitter.” Got him out of country through tweeting for help.
Ann: “What we’ve discovered is a 2-way street when it comes to responding to emergencies and humanitarian disasters” “The quickness and the size of the response can only be attributed to how quickly the information got out, and Twitter played a huge role in that. And I think this will be the future. What has happened is, what you need when there is a disaster, you need people to hear your cry for help. … One of the first things to go is your ability to communicate.” Talking about all of the comm media which is down in the case of an emergency, and how Twitter can fill the gaps between television, cell phones.
Crosstalking at Luke, having him on the show while he was on the ground, and wanting to be with him in Haiti when she got there. “I had to find a place where there was a computer working, and I had to communicate with his wife – I think I was skyping her – and I had to use Twitter to find out where he was. … Bottom line is, at the airport at port-o-prince I got to meet Luke. Which was very emotional for me.”
I’m really hit by how Twitter created so many windows into personal stories in a huge event of unimaginable scope. Goes back to Dan Harple’s talk, earlier.
Doctor’s Without Borders – “they’re not a red tape organization.” Talking about how quickly they can set up in a humanitarian crisis, but they were unable to land in Haiti to do that! Meanwhile, USAF has no air tower, and is operating out of a plane.
Jeff – “You got involved in military communications and effected a change.”
Ann – “I thought, ‘I’m going to have to be an activist here.”
Jeff – “You don’t have to be Ann Curry to effect change.”