Twitter Mobilizes Haiti Aid Efforts

By: By Julianne Pepitone, staff reporter
By: By Julianne Pepitone, staff reporter

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- In the aftermath of a severe earthquake in Haiti late Tuesday, Twitter is playing a critical role in collecting donations to help disaster victims.

Fundraising efforts by the American Red Cross and rapper Wyclef Jean were two of the the top 10 trending topics on Twitter early Wednesday. Both organizations asked Twitter users to text a number to make a donation that would be added to their cell phone bills.

The International Federation of the Red Cross estimated that 3 million people were affected by the 7.0-magnitude quake, the center of which was located near capital city Port-au-Prince.

Twitter quickly lit up with updates across the globe, including some tweets from Haitians who had no other way to communicate amid the chaos. Donation efforts on the network sprang up quickly.

At about 6:30 p.m. ET Tuesday, the American Cross tweeted that it was pledging an initial $200,000 to assist those affected.

Shortly after midnight, @RedCross updated: "You can text "HAITI" to 90999 to donate $10 to Red Cross relief efforts in #haiti." The "hashtags" denote topics, and users can search the Twitterverse for keywords.

Wyclef Jean, a musician formerly of the popular group The Fugees, used his account @Wyclef to post news updates and quickly raise funds.

Jean, who is from Haiti, founded Yéle Haiti in 2005 to build global awareness for the country. At about 6:30 p.m. ET, he tweeted: "Please text "Yele" to 501501 to donate $5 to YELE HAITI.Your money will help with relief efforts. They need our help..please help if you can."

About an hour later, it seemed the system had been overwhelmed with people looking to give aid. @Wyclef posted a message: "Our 501501 Yele donation system is down. It will be fixed shortly please standby."

By Wednesday morning, "YELE" was the top-trending topic, followed by "Help Haiti" and "Red Cross."

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