Module 3, Topic 2: Community

In what ways can online communities foster knowledge, learning, understanding and citizenship?

On the 11th March, 2011 an earthquake with a magnitude of 8.9 hit off the coast of Japan. As a result of the earthquake the country was also hit by a tsunami which devastated towns and farms around Sendai city in northern Japan which were engulfed by a seven-metre tsunami, while a four-metre wave swamped parts of Kamaishi on the Pacific coast. Then there was the impending threat of nuclear disaster.

As a result of the horrific devastation sites such as the ABC set up pages that allowed people to read stories about eyewitness accounts, Japan’s background with tsunamis and earthquakes, ‘infographics’ (a term which I was not actually familiar with), as well as a photo gallery, links to emergency information and links to social media (photos, videos, tweets and eyewitness accounts of the events). What I’d like to discuss further here is the positive impact that providing this sort of information about a disaster has on community. In researching to respond to the key question I read through the information pertaining to the fall of Mubarak, Sam Graham-Felsen’s article in The Nation (Feb 11, 2011) discussed how… “a movement isn’t born until a core group of extraordinarily brave activists take that extra step, translating their outrage into public action. The reality is that social movements arise from a combination of conditions and courage”. Whilst it is not outrage that translates into public action in the case of Japan it is our empathy for and almost a sense of obligation that inspires people into public action.

The internet was one medium that enabled us in Australia to connect to people from all around the world to give information and support.

Japan earthquake and tsunami – inspiring global citizenship…

Images of the Japan earthquake & tsunami 2011

Sites began to appear that provided current information about this natural disaster as well as ways to help:


Japanese earthquake and tsunami information:

Article from The Nation:
How Cyber-Pragmatism Brought Down Mubarak


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