Wednesday, January 05, 2005

If you thought the power of the web couldn't do good...

I continue to be amazed at how the internet has changed the way we do business. It's not only the little things -- like text messaging from nearly anywhere in the country using, and the ability to post to my blog from nearly anywhere, and ordering up news at the push of a button or having it delivered to me on cue, and being able to correspond at near-speed-of-light -- but it's the big things too.

The Asian tsunamis sparked a more than a wave of salt water; they've sparked a flood on the internet:
The Internet has played an unprecedented role supplying aid, money and information in the aftermath of the Asian tsunamis.

Hours after the first waves crashed onto the coastlines, an electronic movement was underway. Donations poured into aid agencies through Web sites. Friends, relatives and strangers scoured the Internet for information about missing relatives and tsunami survivors.

Individuals, linked by an electronic network from text messages to Web sites, began answering pleas for help, releasing list of survivors and funneling hundreds of millions of dollars to aid agencies even as authorities struggled to gain control of the situation.

"It's been going on nonstop," said Andreas Hoistad, an IT worker in Norway, who helped establish the Phuket Disaster Message Board a day after the tsunamis hit Asia on December 26. The independent Web site, built by a few computer specialists with donated time and hardware, offers more than 13,000 postings with lists of names, descriptions of the damage, pictures of relatives and links for those seeking to identify victims.
I suspect I can't even imagine the uses which will become common place in the next few years. Where, indeed, will it stop?

In the mean time, let's see what good we can do.

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