Jaynehowarth’s Weblog

Journalist and writer

Posts Tagged ‘Haiti

How my son’s fundraiser was boosted by Twitter

with 4 comments

The power of Twitter, eh?

Those of us who subscribe to the 140-character-a-time micro blogging site know how useful and how much fun the site can be.

And we know it doesn’t matter how much we might bang on about it, those who have no interest are not going to sign up.

But I am not going to apologise for this short blog post, which sings the praises of Twitter. Again.

I’ve already written about how Twitter got me involved with a fundraising project for the victims of the Haiti earthquake.

But kind-hearted tweeters also helped my son last week when his efforts to help a school fundraiser were – ahem – less than successful.

Youngsters at his school made bookmarks, crafted Scoobies and other arty items. My eight-year-old wanted to do his bit. He drew 23 pictures – stick men scoring goals; stick men reading and walking into bookcases; stick men telling jokes – and said he’d sell them for 5p or 10p.

[picapp align=”right” wrap=”false” link=”term=children+drawing&iid=3119792″ src=”6/e/5/f/Drawing_Children_8292.jpg?adImageId=10169355&imageId=3119792″ width=”234″ height=”230″ /]

He sold one. And one, older, pupil who should know better, told him his pictures were stupid. He was devastated.

I posted a message on Twitter, saying he’d sold a single, solitary picture. Why? Because I follow – and am followed by – quite a few “mummy bloggers”. I thought they’d understand.

There were reactions, naturally, but three tweeters: @DanSlee, @Dovefarm (who retweeted the message to her followers) and @MillfieldLammie were so touched by the mini tale that they PLEDGED MONEY FOR ONE OF HIS PICTURES.

Isn’t that just wonderful?

Of course, they sent the money, too. I won’t embarrass them by divulging how much they posted to us for the school’s Haiti fundraiser, but needless to say that my son would have needed to sell significantly more than the 23 he originally drew.

He thought they were kind and was pleased that grown-ups had recognised that children’s efforts – however small – were worthy of attention.

After a few hours of being down about his little pictures being rejected by his contemporaries, he was buoyant again.

For him, the power of Twitter was real.

Thank you for helping Haiti.

Written by CommonPeople

February 11, 2010 at 11:02 pm

How social media is helping Haiti

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When the earthquake devastated Haiti, I was shocked, appalled and overwhelmed.

Being almost 4,500 miles away from the tragedy, which struck this poverty-stricken nation on January 12, left me bereft.

I was helpless as the 7.0 magnitude quake destroyed towns and villages.

I sat and watched the news, realising there was nothing I could do that would help the families whose meagre possessions had been wiped away.

What could I do? I have no skills, no medical expertise, nothing that would benefit these wretched people.

But social networking focused my thoughts.

While I was racked with guilt over my inability to do anything of use, I saw a tweet about bloggers donating to Shelterbox. I made a small donation.

Then, another tweet caught my attention. One blogger wanted to hear from editors, sub-editors, journalists – anyone with editing skills – to help with a project for Haiti.

A week after the disaster, Greg McQueen posted a video on his blog saying: “Dear Twitterverse, I can’t keep watching this on the news or trending on Twitter without doing something. I woke up this morning with the idea that together we could make an e-book and donate all the profits to the Red Cross.”
(Greg’s video can be found at www.ireallyshouldbewriting.net/100-stories-for-haiti/)

I didn’t know Greg, I didn’t follow him on Twitter. But the beauty of the microblogging site meant that within hours of his original posting, hundreds of people were forwarding his message.

Many people who I follow retweeted Greg’s post. I saw it many times in a couple of hours.

The premise is deceptively simple: getting as many short story submissions as possible to raise money for the victims of the earthquake.

Out of the submissions, 100 pieces of fiction would be chosen to appear in an e-book, the proceeds of which will go to the Red Cross.

100 Stories for Haiti was born.

I offered my services and was accepted onto the project.

Dozens and dozens of short stories were submitted and I, along with 23 others, have been going through the pieces. I do what I can, when I can. I have no idea if I am doing more or less than anyone else (I suspect less), but this is an incredible project and I’m hugely proud to be involved with it.

The calibre of submissions (generally) from across the world has been astonishing; the skills of the volunteer editors awesome.

It is an amazing project – and one I hope you will support.

The book will be sold on www.smashwords.com, whose founder and CEO Mark Coker will be waiving the normal 15% commission.

100 Stories for Haiti will be published in mid-February, 2010.

Written by CommonPeople

January 28, 2010 at 11:03 pm