#quakebook (2:46: Aftershocks: Stories from the Japan Earthquake)

Posted: 28 March, 2011 by tomadamellis in Positive, User Generated Content
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At 2.46 on 11th March 2011 a 9.0 magnitude earthquake struck off northeastern coast of Japan. It triggered a tsunami which caused destruction and devastation leaving over 10,000 dead and inflicting extensive damage to buildings and infrastructure.

Within a week of the disaster a group of Tokyo based bloggers and twitter users began a project with the aim of bringing people together, over the internet, to document experiences and raise funds for survivors.

It all started with a tweet by a British blogger based in Tokyo, who goes by the name of Our Man in Abiko. It was a call for contributors to share their experiences/stories and help create a book to raise funds for Red Cross Japan.

In his blog post Our Man in Abiko wrote:

“I’m looking for contributions from anyone who has something to say about the earthquake (eg where were you when it happened, what did you feel? How have you helped? Did it change anything in the way you live your life? Are you coping with grief? Or just bewildered behind a barrage of media images?) I’m not looking for windy poetic stuff, just honest stuff. Aim to write 250-300 words or so – equivalent to a short blog post (or one page of a book).”

Contributions flowed in from a wide range of sources including writers, journalists, editors, and citizens, all with a story to tell of how they’d been affected.

Personal accounts, videos, photos, drawings and tweets under the hashtag #quakebook were brought together online by a group of editors.

At 2.46 on March 25, exactly two weeks after the earthquake struck, the book, titled 2.46 Quakebook, was finished.

“All the proceeds from the sale of 2:46 Quakebook will be donated to the Japanese Red Cross, the primary aid organization helping earthquake and tsunami survivors” (Quakebook facebook page).

This is an encouraging example of how online communities can come together to produce something of meaning and worth. 2.46 Quakebook is a documentation of life after March 11, a piece of journalism powered by social media and made possible with the use of user generated content.

“2:46 Quakebook is unique both for how quickly citizen-journalists were able to compile and publish it, and for the intimacy and urgency contained in the tales told by survivors and their friends and families all over the world.” (Quakebook facebook page).

Tom Ellis


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