I arrived in Miami ready for a tropical marathon paradise. This particular race means a lot to me. On Sunday, I will be running to help Haiti raise money during this crisis. This will be the first time that I'm running a marathon for charity.
Sandra Logan running for Haiti to rebuild.
One of the bright spots in the bleak news is how techies have developed a social entrepreneurship website designed to unite parents with their children.
In one case, a Haitian expat in Florida used "Vanilla", a free forum tool to setup a forum for posting info about missing relatives in the local language.
Civic hacking is providing many ways to provide emergency assistance and has become a great success story in Haiti.
Farah Duperval, whose parents were born in Haiti is a team leader in the Advisory Council. Farah is a lawyer in Miami.
Samantha and Aaron. Their close friend, Aerial, who used to look after their children tragedly many relatives in the Haiti earthquake. Their lives have been shattered.
Through diligent online research, I learned that it can be significantly cheaper to fly to Ft Lauderdale (just 25 miles north of Miami).
Through www.lastminute.com, I was able to secure a good rate to Ft. Lauderdale and through cost comparison, I determined that it was more economical to get a rental car (vice catching cabs) and a lot more practical to sleep in the car since I will be doing a lot of traveling. Also I found out that there are plenty of parking options on Miami Beach. Miami has really embraced the use of pay boxes with up to 12 hours of parking -- they work like a charm.
I showed up at the Miami Beach Convention Center, hoping to leverage the opportunity by meeting social media types. Since I wasn't registered for the Social Media Conference and didn't expect to be successful in my endeavor, I was dressed in my casual dry wick tees.
But I figured it wouldn't hurt showing up in the lobby and striking up conversations with social media experts who possess an in-depth knowledge on the subject of utilizing social media to communicate to your core audience.
I had the good fortune to meet Tony Clemente from Any Lab Test Now.com. The company is a healthcare lab testing facility that provides thousands of medical lab tests to consumers and employers conveniently and cost effectively.
While Washington is attempting to overhaul the medical industry, this franchise is offering a great alternative --- an affordable, market-based solution to rising health care costs. Any Lab Test is also the first franchise opportunity in the medical testing business.
I also demoed www.runinout.com to a very savvy woman who was very knowledgeable and extremely helpful in providing both broad-based and specific tips to further develop and market the idea.
And during the discussion, I realized something else also. There are many ways social media can help with the relief efforts. We can use Twitter, Facebook, blogs and the overall power of the network to seek volunteers, donations, raise overall awareness, inform and most importantly bring loved ones back together.
Matador, an online travel magazine, is using social media to try to get Jet Blue to sponsor a flight of volunteers to provide on the ground support. Just by reading this post and possibly retweeting it, can help spread the word.
Now I am ready for the big run with Team World Vision on Sunday for Haiti Relief Operations. I'm thrilled to pieces to run for Haiti.