Twitter often gets maligned as a fancy way to tell the world what you had for lunch. But this week, social media got to show its true power, not to mention heart, as people flocked to Twitter and Facebook to learn how to help those affected by the devastating earthquake in Haiti. More than 100,000 souls feared lost, more than 3 million in desperate need of help. Right there, helping to spread the word, have been celebrities who have used their 140 characters to rally for aid.
House actress Olivia Wilde, who was just in the now-leveled capitol city of Port-au-Prince three weeks ago, started sending out pleas Tuesday afternoon right after the quake struck. Her Twitter feed is dedicated to quake relief and raising funds for the charity Artists for Peace and Justice, where she sits on the advisory board.
Olivia has even offered to record a personalized thank you video for everyone who donates $200 or more to the charity. Olivia thanking you personally and helping millions of people in desperate need of aid? That is the very definition of win-win.
Of course, Olivia wasn’t the only celebrity tweeter backing the cause. The artist Wyclef Jean, who was born in Haiti, has organized donations through his organization Yéle Haiti, which he founded in 2005 to help his troubled homeland. Donations can be made internationally through the group’s website, or via text message. Texting “YELE” to 501501 will donate $5 to Yéle Haiti via your phone bill.
Other stars who have turned their Twitter streams into around-the-clock Haiti updates include former The L Word actress Marlee Matlin. Her stream is equal parts inspirational and informational, urging her followers to do what they can.
Former Charmed star Alyssa Milano has also been active, even laying down challenges to corporations to match her donation of $50,000 to relief efforts. Putting your money where your mouth is? You’re doing it right.
Countless other stars have tweeted their support, ways to donate and general dismay at the loss of life in the Haiti. Twitter and Facebook have been at the forefront of spreading news about the Red Cross’ innovative text message donation project.
The White House-endorsed campaign is so simple it literally means you can just lift a finger to help. Text “HAITI” to 90999 to donate $10 to the Red Cross via your phone bill (only available to U.S. donors). One-hundred percent of the money will go to the Red Cross, with no administrative fees going to your cell phone carrier or mGive, the group facilitating the donations. So far more than $4 million have been raised via the Red Cross text campaign.
Still looking for ways to help?
A mere 140 characters cannot possibly express our sadness and support for the people of Haiti. Every little bit helps, so please give what you can.