Tsunami response

Amazon Honor System
When Amazon.com affiliate store participants sign on to their accounts, they are encouraged to display this box on their website, another great example of quick-response fundraising.

Tsunami response: It is rather astonishing to see in near real-time, the people, as individuals and as stockholders and managers of big and small corporations, responding so quickly and dramatically to the vast needs caused by the south Asian tsunami.

It’s amazing to watch the Amazon.com ticker grow (at 6:48 EST, the total is $6.1 million, apparently growing at a clip of $200,000+ an hour.) And to watch more and more major-traffic websites devoting prominent real estate to encourage contributions to various relief efforts. And this report on CNN.com outlines tens of millions of dollars that corporations are contributing.

This is all inspiring. And while something very new is happening here, it has the feel of something that’s been around for quite a while: the telethon. Yet this is a telethon without the host and the phone banks and the visiting celebrities (however, despite this unfortunately-written headline making it sound like they were merely inconvenienced, some celebrities narrowly escaped death and had loved-ones killed). It’s as if the reports on CNN and Fox News and on the Internet are touching viewers (many of us who are on vacation this week) like an instant ad hoc telethon. As the TV reports reveal each new horror of the tsunami’s aftermath, the tally board grows. It is quite interesting how people are responding to what they are seeing on TV by jumping on the Internet to do something, anything, to help.