There’s been a lot of coverage of the Japan tragedy lately. Getting good information has been difficult, owing to the poor quality of television news we have in the U.S. There’s been a great deal of scare mongering (for good coverage of the nuclear problems, I’d follow what Phil Plait has been saying over at the Discovery blogs). What’s even more disturbing is how people are already trying to use this to their own advantage.
Social media has been maybe not the worst, but the most narcissistic. I’ve seen several times on Twitter statements like “follow me and for each new follower, I’ll donate $1”, or “retweet this and for each retweet, we’ll donate”. What I see here is that people have no capacity for shame. What happened in Japan was a horrible disaster and has the compounded problems of having some of their nuclear plants hit by the earthquakes and the ensuing typhoon.
I doubt if any celebrity or business is going to see this blog post, but for God’s sake, have some decency. Can you for just one minute donate to the people who need it because it’s the right thing to do rather than set some arbitrary goal or limit in order to promote yourself?
I’m not sure the people understand the blowback on this, but their self-promotion has backfired for me. It comes to this; the focus should be on the disaster relief and helping those who need it, not on the person or group who is trying to build their brand so they can give some token gift. I believe the people who do this should be called out on it. And if these people are so moved to do something for the people in need, they should just do it. Do a press release later if you feel so moved, but don’t use the tragedy to try to make yourself look good.