April 6, 2011

2:46 #Quakebook interview and Operation Yashima, post-quake and tsunami


300 strangers...One week...One book...89 stories on Japan quake and tsunami...100% for charity.
This is a story about 2:46 #QUAKEBOOK.
  Buy the book at Amazon

MARCH 11, 2011
2:46pm: 9.0 earthquake rocks Japan's northeast coast, triggering a devastating tsunami and a nuclear crisis that hasn't yet ended. At least 12,300 are killed, more than 15,300 are still missing.

MARCH 18, 2011
Our Man in Abiko, a British blogger in Japan, sends a tweet calling for contributions to a book of shorts stories of life in the aftermath to raise funds for relief efforts in Japan. Within 15 hours, he receives 79 mini essays, photos and illustrations.

MARCH 25, 2011
2:46: Aftershocks: Stories from the Japan Earthquake is set to hit the e-presses.

#Quakebook, as the book is also known by its Twitter hashtag, is a story about the triumph of good will and the power of social media. It is a wonderful story about how 300 strangers came together to produce a collection of 89 stories about people's experiences of the Japan earthquake and tsunami. It was all done in one week. It is all for charity. Roberto De Vido, who managed the project, spoke to liberal sprinkles about the experience but first,  this is how it all started:

tweets from @ourmaninabiko
2011.03.18 9:13am
Have asked @fatblueman (of Christmas in Japan video fame) to start
writing a song for Japan quake survivors, and it got me thinking...

2011.03.18 9:18am
I want to compile a book of quake experiences and publish it like
within a week and donate all profits to Red Cross We have the

2011.03.18 9:22am
If everyone wrote 250 words - one page - or submitted their favourite
(original) tweets, pics or artwork, I could edit, publish it in days

Our Man In Abiko received an overwhelming response. Some 300 contributors, editors, designers, translators and volunteers helped get the book ready for publication in one week. By March 25, there was a 30,000-word crowdsourced collection of 87 stories (now 89) from victims in Japan as well as people in other parts of the world who were affected by the tragedy. Nearly 200 pieces of work were submitted. The contributors include artist-musician Yoko Ono and sci-fi writer William Gibson. The story unfolded on Twitter #Quakebook.

2:46 #Quakebook
now available at Amazon.com
100% proceeds to Japanese Red Cross
for relief efforts
The e-book would already have been released if not for the need to get Amazon on board to widen the reach when the book goes on sale. Our Man in Abiko wrote a blogpost venting his frustration at the long wait on April 3. But it is coming soon.  April 11 edit: IT IS HERE!! As $9.99 online download for Kindles. If you don't have the Kindle, you can download a free reader for your computer or smartphone at Amazon if it's available for your region.

All proceed will go to the Japanese Red Cross. Next in line is a Japanese edition and possibly a print version too. Buy 2:46 #Quakebook, tell your friends to buy the book, grab a button, spread the word, volunteer.

Read about the project at the Quakebook blog
Buy #Quakebook here. All proceeds to the Japanese Red Cross (links to emergency relief donations here too)
Read excerpts from 2:46 here
For progress reports, go to the Quakebook website or Quakebook Facebook page
Photos at the Quakebook Flickr group

* * * interview with Roberto De Vido, who managed the #Quakebook project  * * *
(scroll down to find out about another Twitter movement that sprouted after the quake)

Why did you get involved?
I got involved because I had a casual acquaintance with Our Man and once the editing, design and layout was done, he began looking around for people who had the skills to get the book published, and noticed. I've got 22 years of experience in the communications business here in Asia and maybe I am the only communications guy he knows, so he asked me if I would help with publicity. After a week or so, he asked me if I would be willing to put my two decades of experience as an entrepreneur to use managing the project overall. 

Additionally, of course, I got involved because I live here and care about the country and people, and because like Our Man, I am neither a doctor nor a helicopter pilot, and have often found that I can help most by telling the story to a wider audience.

What do you think the #Quakebook story says about social media and how it can be harnessed?
I think social media is like anything: In the right hands, it can be an amazing tool. In the wrong hands, well, you've got however many million people playing Farmville, and informing one another of the details. To be honest, like many people, I have been uncertain about the value of Twitter. It's maybe more valuable to me than many people because I work from home, in a village a reasonable distance from the Big City, tens of thousands of kilometers from my native country. It's a connector, and I've met a few good people thanks to it. 

What it has done, though, in the context of Quakebook, is connect people who care about an issue. It's connected contributors, who have wanted to share their stories, and it has connected the storytellers – the editors and translators and designers. When we decided to create a Japanese edition, rather than commissioning a translator to march through 89 submissions, a handful of translators apportioned the work among themselves, named a project leader, and a few days later, are nearly done. It's a revolutionary way of working. It's crowdsourcing. It's worth noting that Quakebook is an all-volunteer project, and that no one is being paid. Can this be done in the commercial context as well? I'm sure it can, and that it can be done well. To me Twitter has shown itself to be an incredible tool for crowd-sourcing talent.

What was the earthquake like for you personally
I was working at home in my one-story house in a fishing village an hour southwest of Tokyo when the quake hit. Here, of course, the strength was much less than up in Sendai and the rest of the Tohoku area. The quake was long (two minutes or so) and powerful, but the waves were long, and the quake was felt more as a powerful side-to-side swaying rather than the sharp bang we sometimes feel (as though a truck had slammed into the house).

Honestly I didn't find it frightening at all. In part because of the motion, perhaps in larger part because you have to be extremely unlucky in a one-story house in a developed country to die in an earthquake. When the second (or third) big one hit I went outside, just to play it safe. :-) And then, the power went out. I lost power for 12 hours, but almost no one else in the Tokyo area did. I could see lights all around the bay except in my area.

I had a chance to go up to the affected region a few days later, to work as a fixer for a Finnish television journalist. I wrote something about it at Post-tsunami, Japan prays for resolution to nuclear crisis (Tucson Sentinel) and you can see my pix on Flickr (bigocean).

* * * thanks, Roberto * * *

Twitter is Japan's top social network, according to ComScore. The country has around 10 million users, or one out of every 10 of its citizens online, using Twitter.

Another Twitter movement that sprouted after the March earthquake/tsunami disaster was Operation Yashima (link to website in Japanese only). In efforts to deal with the power shortage created by the nuclear emergency, the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) introduced a blackout plan for the country. An unofficial campaign to conserve electricity took off on Twitter under the name Operation Yashima (hashtag #yashimasakusen), with people sending tweets calling for energy conservation so that more electricity can be sent to the affected areas. Operation Yashima gets its name from the popular anime/manga/video game franchise Neon Genesis Evangelion, in which the protagonist Evangelions defeat an invading robot enemy by using a weapon that taps into the Japanese electricity grid in an op named Yashima.

The Operation Yashima site has updates on projected power consumption, live twitter feeds. There is also a wiki. A Tumblr blog Setsuden has also been created where people share posters to help raise awareness of energy  conservation. Here are some of them.

energy-saving poster via Setsuden
energy-saving poster via Setsuden

energy-saving poster via Setsuden
energy-saving poster via Setsuden

Remember to buy 2:46 Quakebook. See my earlier post on Japan earthquake, tsunami: How to help. Thanks for reading. If you liked this post, you can get updates from this blog by email through this form, or follow or subscribe (links below or in sidebar).

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Related posts
* FACTS: Japan earthquake, tsunami, nuclear crisis March 2011
* Damage caused by Japan earthquake, tsunami, nuclear crisis 2011
* Economic impact of Japan earthquake, tsunami, nuclear crisis 2011
* facts on earthquakes
* facts on tsunamis
* facts on nuclear disasters
* Japan earthquake, tsunami: How to help

Related links
Quake shapes social media (News Observer)
After quake and tsunami, Japanese flock to social networks for information (New York Times)

by liberal sprinkles


Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy said...

Oh, Grace, you've done it AGAIN! I'm loving your interviews. I'm going to give you a shout out right now so that others can have access to your interview and to this wonderful project.

Heart Three,

Kathy M.

liberal sprinkles said...

Kathy, thanks so much. Maybe you could put the Quakebook button on your blog too to show support and spread the word!

Same message to anyone who's reading!

best wishes,

Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy said...

Hi Grace, sorry, you caught me on my rough draft ... but I'd accidentally hit publish ... I realized that I had it wrong. Sure, I'll put the button other there soon ... Cary's chomping at the bit for the computer! Have a great day.


Lynn said...

Grace, nice interview and again, you are chuck full of information. I plan to post a link to your site on my blog too, but I may not get to it until a few days. Thanks for all your hard work in posting this.

Tammy said...

Great post. Hooray to you and others for helping.

liberal sprinkles said...

Lynn, thanks for the plug!
Tammy, just doing whatever little I can to help :)

Blogscapes said...

Thanks for sharing about Quakebook - it's amazing to see strangers coming together like that via new media for a worthy cause!

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