It was incredible to observe social media respond to tragic events surrounding the devastating earthquake and tsunami that occurred in Japan on Friday.

If any of our readers had the opportunity to tune-in to Twitter streams such as #sunami,  #sendai, #prayforjapan, and others, you literally could not keep up with the streaming of messages.  Many were from people in the impacted areas of Japan, providing first-hand accounts or sharing links to videos and news stories.  Other tweets came from concerned families and colleagues, expressing human concerns for the well-being of victims.  We also noted tweets from corporations such as Procter and Gamble and Panasonic, reaching out to employees and their well- being. As we have read, Japan’s cellular and telecommunications networks were literally overwhelmed yesterday, not only from the effects of the primary earthquake and consequent aftershocks, but also from the sheer volume of people seeking to call and make a connection to others. It was again interesting to note how social media has become such a medium of choice when crisis occurs.

Behind the scenes, employers , institutions and governmental agencies are all reaching out to establish forms of communication and check-in, along with action planning to take immediate care of those impacted.

I was also struck by the sheer availability of first-hand visuals to this tragedy, and was astounded, as I’m sure many of our readers, by visual images depicting the sheer destruction and horror of this tragedy. Think of the past when we would have waited days to be able to gain any news of the destruction.  Today, the Internet and social media allows us to view first-hand, high quality images of accounts from citizen reporters as well as traditional media. It was also interesting to observe how much traditional media relies on resources gathered up in social media, including these personal videos and images.

Finally a comment directed at those certain few bloggers who elected to tweet individual points-of-view or promote business agendas in the moment.  It is extremely disturbing and inappropriate. It is no wonder that many in our community continue to have a negative impression of social media  because of the actions of a certain few who just want to be heard and recognized.

This is a time of concern, reaching-out and support for the victims of this tragic event.

We should all note that social media can provide a positive impact to an event.

While on this subject, it would be great if we could all dig deep into our pockets and purses and contribute in some amount to the Japan relief efforts.

Bob Ferrari