Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Is the Blood Drying in Haiti?

I saw this tweet last night right after seeing the Mercy Corps volunteers working the front entry to the Oregon Symphony last night, and right after getting a direct message from a friend asking advice about how her school group can volunteer locally to help out with Haiti. So, from my perspective here in Portland, the voluntary sector and nonprofit community is still abuzz with concern. But, what is going on with the rest of the world? What is going on in Haiti?

Seems that conversations have shifted to the difficult topics of colonialism, control, slow aid and politics while thousands still clamor for tents to sleep in and water to drink! Check out the trending on twitter.

Working the phones for Medical Teams International gave me an interesting view of how people in the US are connecting to the crisis. I was surprised by how many people wanted to be sent to Haiti, and stunned by how many inexperienced, even non-medical people called in angrily demanding to be sent to the disaster area! But, as frustrating as it is for nonprofits to spare extra expense to take those phone calls, it was also a reflection of how helpless so many people feel- watching this trauma unfold and not knowing what fate will befall Haiti.

Read more about our day of service at Medical Teams International (that continued through the weekend) at my coworker's blogs here:
Marie Deatherage: http://omaried.wordpress.com/2010/01/14/a-day-for-helping-haiti-we-need-an-app-for-that/
Grant Kruger: http://thirdworld.livejournal.com/258680.html

Here's hoping Haiti's fate isn't decided in the next two weeks, and here's hoping the Haitians get the food, water and shelter they should have.

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Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Cool New Tool for Cancer Patients

Looks like I can be proud of my dear friend Marika aka "sn0tty" for getting involved with the fight against cancer. Marika recently turned me on to a pretty cool new resource she's put some of her great energy into called Navigating Cancer.

Navigating Cancer provides essential cancer-related information from authoritative sources to help patients learn about their options once diagnosed, and tools for patients to partner with their physicians, allowing them to be more in control of their cancer treatment and care. Navigating Cancer also provides a forum for patients to connect with other cancer patients to learn and share from their experiences, ask for help when needed and keep loved ones updated on their journey.

As a librarian and web geek, I am always thrilled to see companies and organizations creating resources that decrease information disparity. As a human with a history of health issues, I'm really glad to see a resource that aims to empower patients- focusing on care and best practices. I was really impressed by how easy and user-friendly the patient dashboard is. I think this would have really been great to have many years back when I was misdiagnosed with MS. (F.U. big Wa state HMO- you know who you are!)

It's unclear exactly how this company/site is monetized and what the for/nonprofit status is. It seems to be a lot more user friendly than Google Health--which offers some of the same services. It promises to be more like wiki communities and vaguely reminds me of ediets before that site ditched its own user-friendliness for crazy design and overcrowded adspace. But, it looks like a promising front runner for what is sure to be a growing sector of the semantic web.

Check it out, tell me what you think and see what you can do to support those you love, or like, with cancer.

And, read about Marika's thoughts on being an online community manager here. As the resident tender of the connectipedia garden, I can really really empathize!


Wednesday, January 13, 2010

my heart is breaking for Haiti right now

Photo Uploaded to Flickr on January 12, 2010 by GlobovisiĆ³n
Unless you've been in hiding or too wrapped up in all that late night teevee BS, you know Haiti has suffered a horrible earthquake with a tremendous loss of lives and horror for about 3 million people. Like most of the people watching, helpless, I looked for ways to respond this morning- wondering- could I give at least $50 and get by on the remaining fumes left in my checking account until payday...

Whitehouse.gov is endorsing the mobile giving program to the Red Cross, and it is set up by an org called mGive, which is waiving the usual fees for all donations. if you have never given by SMS
message, there are some things to know (like you have to tell them to stop texting you alerts and updates)- read the fine print here: http://www.mgive.com/Partners.aspx

Mercy Corps is also endorsed by the Govt. but is asking that donations be given online. All proceeds- 100% go directly to relief! https://donate.mercycorps.org/donation.htm?DonorIntent=Haiti+Earthquake Mercy Corps is incredibly nimble and resourceful. This is where some of my cash is going.

I will be spending the day volunteering for Medical Teams International tomorrow- http://www.medicalteams.org/sf/Home.aspx and I've asked my employer to expedite matching funds for my volunteer time. If your employer matches funds for time or cash, please ask them
to expedite the match!

NPO superstar Britt Bravo has compiled a roundup up ways to give here: http://havefundogood.blogspot.com/2010/01/how-to-help-haitian-earthquake.html

Furthermore, Etsy artists like myself and Ryan Berkley are marking items to go to Haitian relief. So, you can buy art and support folks, why wouldn't you? A simple search using the term "Haiti" on etsy returns pages of results. Be sure to ask the seller to email you his/her donation confirmation. This seems like a really good way to put some art where my mouth is, in lieu of money!

Do you have more ideas and ways to make us all feel a little less helpless? What do you think about emergency response and the internet?

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Friday, January 8, 2010

New Podcast Review with Donovan: We Live in Public

Once again, I was a guest reviewer for Erin Donovan's lively podcast for her excellent film reviewing blog Steady Diet of Film. We reviewed Ondi Timoner's documentary We Live In Public. The movie follows the rise and fall of supposed visionary (really tremendously privileged douchebag) Josh Harris. I f*cking hated this movie and the dillweeds in it like poison, but Erin found it compelling, and we somehow met in the middle in our review, rather than wrestling each other to the ground like usual.

Read Erin's comments and listen here.
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