Jeff Jarvis has a very thought-provoking post about the need for greater disaster preparedness in Cyberspace. He points out the obvious: "There are many, many wonderful things happening, but they are happening — as is the want of the distributed web — everywhere." Information and projects are scattered all over the web, which is great, but how does anybody keep track of it all, find out what's available, and figure out where to go for the information and help they really need?
Of course there are some great efforts to consolidate all of these distributed happenings, including the PeopleFinder project which I've been marginally involved with on the p.r. and mobilization side, and which my colleague Ethan Zuckerman and many other technical geniuses have been working on intensively throughout the Labor Day weekend.
But as Jeff points out, we should take the lessons learned from this experience, plus the Tsunami help efforts, and try to be better prepared in advance for future catastrophes. We need better mechanisms to coordinate online efforts from the start. Once we're all done dealing with the emergency at hand, Jeff suggests a conference or series of meetups - or at very least some serious online conversations. I agree, all these are necessary.
Many thanks to Jeff also for his praise of Global Voices! I hope bloggers all over the world will participate in the creation of Recovery 2.0, and help to ensure that solutions are truly global.