I want to take a quick pause to follow Louis CK’s advice and wonder at the world we live in.
Within hours of the earthquake, a Wikipedia page popped up with information on the event and a list of tsunami warnings. Twelve hours since the earthquake hit, that page has been edited more than 500 times and is rife with information, including other affected areas and international response.
Google created a people finder in Japanese and in English and deployed it shortly after the event. There are currently about 6,100 records. A map on Google marks possible shelters. YouTube immediately started compiling citizen videos of the quake. Ushahidi build a database to help those offering aid connect to those in need.
(For a full list of all these resources look here.)
With phone lines down, people took to Twitter and Facebook to connect and reassure their friends and family of their safety. Mashable reports tweets in Tokyo topped 1,200 per minute.
I know. These things have occurred frequently over the past few years, after every major crisis. Twitter starts furiously reporting the event. Wikipedia’s editors move to update the page. Google and Facebook deploy resources. It happens. But 10 years ago, this didn’t happen. This wealth of information, this constant awareness, this ability to help immediately and effectively was not around. And for this moment, I’m in awe of it all.