If you are like me you live, work and play in a world filled and often consumed with social networking and social media. You can find me on My developerWorks through my blog, my profile, my comments, my tags, my files..., you can friend my on facebook, you can follow me on twitter, you can catch me showering on flickr, you can watch me shaving my head for charity on youtube and the list goes on & on. But for me, there are times when I get a very clear wake up call that traditional media cannot be overlooked or forgotten or allowed to die. My most recent wake up call is the result of the terrible tragedy in Haiti. I have certainly read and participated in a tremendous amount of social networking activity regarding Haiti. But for me, the most visceral and the most emotional attachment to the Haiti disaster occurs when I sit down at my kitchen table and pore through the Raleigh News & Observer, the New York Times, Time magazine.....or when I lay in my bed or sit in my living room and watch the late night local news or ABC's Nightline or now (as I write this blog) CBS Sunday Morning. The larger than life images and detailed stories in newspapers, magazines and the in depth updates from reporters and correspondents that I trust and welcome into my home have frequently overwhelmed me and have more importantly moved me to take action. There are many ways to respond to tremendous need in Haiti. I am sure each of us will find a personal way to respond to the needs of Haiti through traditional media, social networking,... From my own personal experience and long standing relationship, I would suggest considering the American Red Cross. Another organization that caught my attention this week was the Lambi Fund which focuses on second responder needs in places like Haiti. Here's a great comprehensive list of options for providing support to Haiti that I just found on CNN.
In early December, I had another wake up call thanks to traditional print media. On Dec 6th I was in Baba Ganouj, a local Middle Eastern restaurant in Cary, NC, picking up take out food for my family. While I was waiting for my food, I picked up a copy of a local FREE publication called Endurance magazine. On the cover was an attractive young woman, not much older than my own daughters holding up her bike. This woman and her cover story literally shouted off the pages with these words "Meghann Gunderman Wants You to Ride 400 Miles Across Africa & Help Change the World RideTZ." Shortly after picking up the magazine, I heard my takeout number being called. I started the short drive home, but I couldn't take my eyes off the magazine and kept trying to read the article when I hit a red light or other breaks in my drive. Fortunately despite my print media distraction, I made it home safely. When I arrived home, I sat in my driveway and carefully read the article "Biking Across Africa to Help Change the World" twice. I learned about the millions of orphans in Africa who desperately need our help. I learned that Meghann was using a 400 mile bike ride across Tanzania, called RideTZ, to raise awareness and funds for The Foundation For Tomorrow, a non-profit that she started in 2006 at the age of 23. As a firm believer in education, I was very moved to learn that The Foundation For Tomorrow believes that quality education is the way to attack and ultimately address the long standing problems of epidemic poverty, disease, death....in Africa.
As I have embarked on my journey to bike across Tanzania to "help change the world", I am very excited to be reminded about and to leverage the value of traditional media, FREE resources and this phenomenon known as social networking. Here at developerWorks, we have been committed for the past 10 years to the belief that quality education and training through FREE resources is one of the best ways to help build a Smarter Planet. Last year, we launched My developerWorks which, now known as "The World's Geekiest Social Network", leverages the power of IBM Lotus Connections to build powerful community, collaboration and valuable relationships through social networking across our Smarter Planet.
You can find out everything you need to know about IBM Lotus Connections this week in Orlando, Florida at Lotusphere 2010. By the way, while you are at Lotusphere, if you stop by the "GROUP Business Software" booth, they will donate $5 to Haiti relief fund. I am so excited to see that there are lots of other people on this Smarter Planet who believe, just like I do, that "You Can Help Change the World by Giving $5".