I hope you are able to take some time this weekend to relax and enjoy your friends and family and count the blessings in your life. I know I am particularly grateful as I have watched the terrible tragedy unfold in Japan. My thoughts and prayers go out to everyone there.
Having been through a couple of devastating hurricanes, (I even lost a house to one) it seemed at the time that things would never be right again. Then last summer, I was just sick about the thousands of barrels of oil gushing out of that well, spoiling our most precious beaches, fish and animals on the Gulf coast. Yet, I have seen time and again that people are amazingly resilient and what I could not imagine being right again, did spring back. While we can’t stop natural disasters from occurring, I do fervently wish that we humans can learn from these disasters how to not compound the naturally occurring events with those based on greedy consumption and dependence on so much power that we then create oil spills and nuclear accidents and flooded homes in places where they should never have been built in the first place.
The things I have seen cannot touch the magnitude of what is happening in Japan. I truly cannot imagine the scope of the problems that Japan is dealing with now and it makes any little grievances I may have in my life seem very insignificant. So last Sunday night on Twitter some of my buddies from the Twitter Stream and from #tweetdiner started tweeting about the lack of press that people in Japan are getting in Social Media and the relative low amount of donations and support of Japan compared to other tragedies of recent years. Margie Clayman said we should make a website to raise awareness and money for Japan and do a week long Tweet Chat to get people to donate a minimum 10.00, which is the cost of two or three cups of coffee, to the Red Cross. Can anyone make the website, she asked?
Well, Margie is one of my favorite chatters on Sunday night #blogchat and I looked at that tweet and knew that although I could put together a website, I was much “too busy” to do it this week. But, I just decided oh what the hell, Let’s jump in and see what happens. I am really glad I did.
That night I put together a logo for Care4Japan. The next day, I built a site using the Genesis framework with the child theme Social Eyes by StudioPress.
I had not been mush of a Genesis fan until Marna Friedman did a wonderful presentation at our Atlanta WordPress Users Meetup Group this month. I actually went in and completely customized the colors, fonts, and background so the new Care4Japan site bears little resemblance to the original theme, but it went together really easily and I am now a true fan.
I also had to scurry to get some content on the site. I used Creative Commons photos from Flickr, and I added the Genesis RSS widget to the sidebar tracking the #careforjapan rather than use a twitter widget that only tracked one person’s tweets.
My friend from Atlanta, former rocker, Johnny Colt, is in Japan now as an iReporter sending his updates and what is happening there to CNN. I got his feed and uploaded it with a Plugin called Feed WordPress, that makes each of his posts from his RSS feed into a post on our site, in the category, Disaster News. This was a great way to offer people some fresh news about what is really going on in Japan right now.
Jeanette Baer was able to get some code from the Red Cross that will track the donations coming there from our links. I imagine this works much the same as the way we tracking affiliate sales with a special link. I am trying to customize a donation graphic that will show how much we have brought in. Since we are not an official 5013C non-profit we cannot really collect money through Paypal ourselves. We would no be able to have the donations be tax deductible to the donors and we would be subject to paying taxes on the donations. There is also the trust factor involved in having people donate directly to the Red Cross.
It has been a whirlwind to do this web project with a loose group online with only one initial phone call. All of the rest of our communication has been done through Twitter and e-mail. I have met and worked with some great folks on this project, Margie Clayman, of Clayman Advertising ( @margieclayman), Jeanette Baer, from Primary Color Advertising (@myagenda), Joe Ruiz from Strategic Driven (@SMSJoe), Anne from Ozio Media (@oziomedia), Ann Saulovich @solete, Kenny Rose , (@gritO8). It really goes to show that it does not take long to get a site up when you are motivated and get right on it. Yay team!
If you’d like to help out, we are asking that you go to the Care4Japan site, like our care4japan Facebook page, make a donation to the Red Cross using our links, and then leave a comment on our donate page.
Although we are only asking for 10.00, please feel free to give more and then leave a comment on the site with your #Twitter hashtag . During our tweet chat April 2- 9, we will be giving away prizes to people chosen at random from those who have donated through our site.