Social Networking in Haiti Updates World

In the minutes and hours following the earthquake, people inside Haiti and in the U.S. turned to social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter for information.

Some of the first images of the destruction were distributed via those sites and YouTube.

CBS News science and technology correspondent Daniel Sieberg reports that less than 10 percent of Haiti's nine million people have regular access to the Internet.

However, for those who do, social networking sites habe been the best lines of communication after the quake.

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In the hours after the earthquake struck in Haiti, Fabrice Armand scoured Facebook for any updates from his family and friends.

Armand, reading from a Facebook profile of one of his friends or family members, said, "'I'm doing well, my family is well, thank God, I saw the most horrible things in my life yesterday.'"

Yolette Williams spent the day fielding calls at a Haitian newspaper based in Brooklyn and used Facebook as her window on the chaos.

Williams said while reading a Facebook profile Wednesday, "Oh God, two people are stuck under a house…her mom and her sister need to find help."

Meanwhile, people in Haiti like Fredo Dupoux turned to Twitter to express grief and frustration. He wrote a tweet that reads: "dead bodies are everywhere i havent seen one ambulance or any proffesionl med care anywhere in port-au-prince."

Richard Morse who owns a hotel in the nation's capital wrote on Twitter, "going to be food, medical supply and water issues...decomposing bodies."

Sieberg pointed out some of the first images of destruction and heartache appeared on social networks. Photos were uploaded to Twitter and a video made its way onto YouTube.

The sites have also inspired activism. Haitian-born singer Wyclef Jean asked his 1.3 million Twitter followers to donate money via text messages. His Twitter page read, "Haiti needs your help text Yele to 501 501 and $5 will go toward earthquake relief."

Jean's fundraising campaign, Give on the Go, Sieberg said, has already raised more than $750,000.

A company called mobile giving is helping spearhead the high-tech relief efforts.

Jim Manis, chairman and chief executive officer or Mobile Giving Foundation, told CBS News, "You use your phone in a very personal, a very meaningful way every day throughout the day, and this is just an extension of really empowering an individual to act on, on their good will."



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