12 Ways to Use Social Media to Help in Sandy Relief Work

I spent 10 years in NYC. I consider it a second home. I love NYC and it’s breaking my heart to watch what is happening and feel so powerless. So I decided not to be powerless. I gave blood first. I don’t have a lot of cash at the moment so I looked for the next thing. I wanted to have a positive impact. So I found ways. If you have any facility with social media you can be a big help at a distance. There will be a need for this help in the weeks, months and years ahead. Real recovery will take a long time. Here’s how to help from where you are:

1. Translate any relief or recovery message you see which has been embedded in an image from pixels to text. Or offer to help any group with this work. Image memes and messages in jpegs are not accessible and will not reach some of our most vulnerable people. When you create an image message ALWAYS provide a text alternative. Here are some guidelines for making your content accessible. tl:dr if you see a relief meme on facebook with critical info type it out if the page owners have not.

2. Interoccupy has been recognized as doing a terrific job responding on the ground and quickly to the most vulnerable. There is no red tape just a direct path to getting involved. Go to interoccupy.net/occupysandy – Volunteer for tasks which can be done online http://interoccupy.net/volunteer/   

3. Get on twitter and watch these hashtags #sandy #sandyrelief #sandyvolunteer #sandyaide – retweet or try to get that information to people who can help onsite. Amplify messaging from reliable sources. Try to get information to the right people. Look for other hashtags for specific locations along the East Coast and in the Caribbean and help them amplify as well.

4. Share videos of what’s happening on facebook. The crisis is much deeper than the mainstream media is reporting. Help get attention to specific problems.

5. Like these pages on Facebook and respond to requests as needed ( Occupy Sandy Relief NYC and  Giving Back to Those Affected by Sandy  and Occupy the Hood ) These communities are doing great work. Jump right in. Also look for other facebook pages where people are doing good work along the East Coast. Many groups are targeted to specific locations. If you grew up on the East Coast start a page for your hometown if it has been impacted. Contact the leaders in that community and let them know the page exists.

6. Connect with animal support groups and assist in reuniting people with their pets or finding permanent or temporary homes for pets by posting images around the web, making phone calls and helping folks connect.

7. Respond to specific people on social media who are requesting help by linking them up with resources near them. You have the bird’s eye view. In the chaos, shock and stress – thinking is really difficult.

8. MIT started hurricanehackers.com for tech projects assisting in relief efforts. Many of their projects rely on crowdsourcing information. You can help if you are a programmer – and you may be able to help simply by gathering information for a project. Also Ushahidi has several projects you can help with – http://blog.ushahidi.com/index.php/2012/10/29/hurricane-sandy-in-maps/

FastCoexist has a good piece on hurricanehackers.com and other efforts here.

9. Act as a rumor control sentinel. There have been many rumors flying – let your skepticism be your guide and help track down the truth. Help folks sort through the confusion. Sharks in Jersey! FEMA jobs! FEMA Rumor Control and Snopes: Hurricane Sandy are good places to check things out.

10. Share good news about how people are stepping up. People get overwhelmed and demoralized without knowing there are GREAT things happening. Help everyone be part of the solution. There is real power in WE.

11. Look for issues outside of NYC and NJ. There’s stuff going on up and down the East Coast and in the Carribean particularly Cuba and Haiti but elsewhere as well. The US media is focused on NYC and NJ primarily. Share solutions happening in NYC with places where folks are not plugged in to all the incredible work happening there. Share what works!

12. Share this list and let others know there’s a lot more we can do from far away. There is no need to feel like you can’t help – because you can! Reblog/Reweet away!

Bonus Ideas:

13. Help translate text to other languages. Do this only if you are fluent. Don’t use online translations for relief work. They are just not that accurate yet.

Added after Nov. 5th 2012

14. Send items directly to distribution hubs via this Amazon registry. Send ANYTHING you can buy on Amazon. Amazing.

If you have suggestions for improving this post please comment below. Also please let me know if you have any other ideas about how people away from the area can help via the net.

I’ve noticed attention from the media on people and their needs has dropped off severely. Perhaps it’s just the last day of the election season. But I fear that the news will move on and we will all be distracted when the hardest impacts hit home. It’s getting colder every night. The needs of people impacted by Sandy will be ongoing for months and years. Please help them by giving your attention and access to your networks.

Also – Tomorrow Nov 6th 2012 – VOTE BABY VOTE. It matters no matter where you are.


With Gratitude,
Liz McLellan

12 ways to help sandy survivors using social media

We’re up for a Shorty Award! Please take a minute to vote!

Here’s what your tweet should look

I nominate @hyperlocavore for a #ShortyAward in #food because (fill in your reason!)

The rules say you have to have been a member of twitter before the contest began. So please note that.

Thanks guys!


HOWTO: Use twitter to grow your local yardsharing group

OK – So you’ve signed up – but you are not quite sure how to get others to sign up in your area so you can find a great yard sharing partner.

If you haven’t read this page and done these things first – Please do!

How do I start an area yardsharing group or a private yardsharing pod?

General Tips for Getting Started.

How to Grow your Group.

OK – Now that you’ve read through those ideas, let’s focus on twitter. This assumes you have a twitter account and you have developed your lists and connections. How to do that is beyond the scope of this how to but if you would like some help here’s a few great videos on Twitter:

Twitter in Plain English by CommonCraft

How to Use Twitter by Howcast

So here’s how you let folks know about yardsharing in your area or neighborhood. You can get as specific as you want. Either tweet about your general area group or your own yardsharing pod.

Write a short tweet something like:

Seeking yardsharing partners in Denver.

Go to the Denver group page on hyperlocavore and copy the url.


Use a url shortener like hootsuite.com to get a short url


Add that to your tweet – so now you have:

Seeking yardsharing partners in Denver. http://ow.ly/2ghgx

Now – add hashtags. (What are hashtags? Twitter Search in Plain English)

In this case I will make the town, neighborhood or area a hashtag…in this case Denver

So it looks like this:

Seeking yardsharing partners in #Denver. http://ow.ly/2ghgx

And I will add a few other hashtags:

Seeking yardsharing partners in #Denver. http://ow.ly/2ghgx #gardening #colorado

OK – That’s it… try tweeting this message at different times during the day. You can also add “PLS RT” – which is a request that people ‘retweet’ the message so it reaches farther.

Seeking yardsharing partners in #Denver. http://ow.ly/2ghgx #gardening #colorado #food PLS RT

Keep your tweets well under 140 so that people can retweet without losing any content.

So that’s it! Easy peasy!

Top 10 Posts – 2009 – Best and Worst Year Ever

It’s been an amazing first year. It started with a huge turn both privately and publicly. Obama’s inauguration was the highest point and the lowest point. On that same evening we got the news that my father was not well, and six months later he was gone.

He taught me many things some useful and some not at all. I am grateful most of all that he told me many times that I could do anything I set my mind to. He certainly thought them strange, many of those things that I have set my mind to. I was able to share some interviews I had done before  he died, and he liked the idea.

He was never a gardener but, always a foodie and a fiend for the super fresh. Some of my best memories of him are the car trips we’d take down California, through the Central Valley stopping at all the fruit stands. The last time we went out together, we went to a fruit stand just down the road from my aunt Duff’s where we were staying. He was too weak to drive and only tolerating fruit at this point. In a real rare moment, he let me drive. Clearly a sign he didn’t have much fight left in him.

My brother Matt got married this year to a great woman with a fantastic sense of humor named Angela. Dad hung on until the wedding in May. We were so glad to have something joyful to gather around, as we knew we would be gathering soon again for something with no joy in it. I have no idea where he found the strength to make the flight. He was a wisp by then, as you can see in the picture at his full strength he was a lion of a man. We had a bagpiper at the service. I wish we hadn’t done that, from now on the sound will rip through me.

This started as a” Ten Top posts” blog but, I digressed. I haven’t been able to talk about this year much. So thank you for indulging me. There’s no talking about this year without talking about losing my dad. When he lost his ability to enjoy food, his sense of taste and smell gone, a full belly causing pain, nausea and reflux, he didn’t want to be here any more. I understand that. I’m a foodie, because he was. I care about food, taste, and freshness because he did.

Throughout the year friends and family have come through over and over again. People I didn’t know very well reached across the screen and gave me themselves. I’ve been surrounded by love and support by the people who I have gotten to know through this project. I can’t mention you individually. The list is so long. I am so grateful to all of my new friends. Without the encouragement you’ve given me so consistently through this very difficult year, I do not know where I would be really. This project, certainly, would not have survived.

My wish is that 2010 brings all of you as much as you have given me and more.

And here we go:

DIY Project – Low Watt LED Greenhouse

100 Reasons to Become a Hyperlocavore

Ten Signs You May Be A Farm Nerd

The Twitter FAQ on @hyperlocavore or How I Tweet

What is yard sharing?

Yardsharing Return on Investment – How Does 61K Sound?

What is a distributed suburban CSA?

The Great Let’s Get Growing Seed Share

On Choosing – A Hyperlocavore Responds to a Catastrophe

How To Start a Produce Exchange in Your Neighborhood

I’m a Little Baby Bumble Bee…

I’m a Little Baby Bumble Bee!
Won’t My Mama Be So Proud of Me!
(Adapted from the absolutely horrible murderous bumble bee song taught to kindergarteners everywhere!)


You may be wondering why I am playing honey bee! Strange thing to do, I have to agree. I’ve always had a connection to bees, always thought of them as the magic little beings that make us possible. Have you every thought about your near total dependence on the humble bee? Nearly everything you eat is in some way connected to the diligent work of a armies of bees.
This is why when I came across the Tweehive project I said “Oh yes! I’d love to play!”

From their site:

Tweehive is a mass role play by human beings of a bee colony on twitter. This will take place on three days, July 14, August 5 and Sept 5. The aim is to raise bee awareness, wonderment, interest, actions – plus generate traffic to bee related sites and resources. We are affiliated withThe Pestival and our third daily role play will be featured at this South Bank event (London) in the first week of September.
– Tweehive Project

Everyone is welcome to jump in and play so, please read up and then participate in the Tweehive. The twitter game will raise awareness, teach you a bit about the complex lives of our most unappreciated allied creature. And maybe you’ll even find some honey of your own!

Note: The image is not actually a bumble bee, but a French bee, from France.

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The Twitter FAQ on @hyperlocavore or How I Tweet

(With a tip of the hat to Jamais Cascio from @worldchanging and @cascio for the format and questions.)

(I’ll re-post or re-link to this when I get a flood of new followers on Twitter.)

So you’ve decided to follow me on Twitter. Thank you! I really appreciate that! I hope you will find me interesting, funny and helpful.

So, don’t take this the wrong way, but who are you? I just added you because [other Twitter user] suggested it.

My name is Liz McLellan. I am, among other things the maker of hyperlocavore.com a free yard sharing community. I am also a very engaged citizen, a cultural creative, a social entrepreneur, a gardener, a foodie, an activist and a believer in a positive future which is completely dependent on us.

What kinds of things do you tweet about?

I tweet mostly about yard sharing, neighborhood resilience and community building, gardening, civic engagement, the various futures we are facing and how to move towards a positive one. I also occasionally become very interested in particular events and may for a time use #hashtags to speak to specific people about such topics as: #iranelections#transition #egypt or #peakoil. I believe we are all connected and because we live in a globalized economy all of it matters. In the evenings I can sometimes be found on Twitter socializing with people often tweeting about silly things like #madmen, #bsg,* or #dragrace.

I tweet about everything.

I have another twitter account at @lizmstrategy which is focused on my professional interests in tech, crowdfunding, social media, small business and other topics tangentially related. It has less traffic.

I live in a very tiny town in Oregon and enjoy fooling around with people around the world on twitter. Feel free to jump in. I like meeting new people!

I hope that those interested in my main topics around green subjects, will humor me when I tweet about other topics. I will usually throttle back to my usual topics after a few days.

If you are looking for a cool headed professional PR feed then this is not it. I am a real person not a marketing bot. I care about a lot of things. Sometimes I use foul language.

I have always tried to engage and reply to all DMs and @hyperlocavore responses. I am not all that interested in engaging in rigid binary debate, not because I am afraid of it, but because in 20 years of being online (remember theWeLL and picospan?), I can tell when I am in a genuine conversational exchange and a competition with a dogged ideologue. I do not see the world in black and white. I don’t respond to the latter, unless I find it amusing. For the most part, if I don’t find you amusing politically I will ignore you.

That said if you are genuinely open and interested in my point of view, I will do my best to be genuinely open and interested in your point of view.

And that said, if I don’t engage, it may also mean that I am simply very busy between running my site, working on the farm or trying to earn a living in some other way. Please don’t take it personally. It is not personal.

You’re not going to overload me with your Twitter posts, are you?

Well, I can be pretty communicative on twitter, the value of what I tweet is certainly up to you to interpret. My signal to noise ratio has been rated “astonishingly high at 94.2%!” by twitalyzer.com. My Klout was 71  and peerindex was 66 last time I checked. I try to keep that number very high, as it’s a matter of pride for me. It will be for you to decide whether I deserve those numbers. I also like to let you know who I actually am so I will tweet some trivial stuff that I think is funny, because you really learn who people are by what they think is funny. And things are so tense these days I think it’s really important we all have a few belly laughs everyday.

I also think we should all help the newbies understand what all this noise about the internets is. I will occasionally post things that are meant to be directly helpful to the clueless newbie, for instance an explanation of #hashtags, which may at first seem to come out of the blue. Actually, I would rather tweet than DM and answer to a question a lot of people are not but would like to ask.

If you are a clueless newbie please check out @leelefever ‘s channel on Youtube. His company Common Craft makes the best introduction videos out there to all these new fangled web tools. I’ve used them for years to bring clients up to speed. Mashable.com is also a great resource and place to hunt for clues.

If at any given time I do obsess on a particular event such as #egypt or #dragrace then of course, feel free to unfollow. But please do check back in if you enjoyed me before the digression – it won’t be forever.

I do appreciate your time and attention and try not to abuse it however I can’t help in engaging my tweeple with what I find interesting and important.

Promoting hyperlocavore.com a free yard sharing community.

My passion and my business is my yard sharing project. I do not have any budget for advertising. I am completely bootstrapping on my own. Twitter has proved invaluably important to the project. I appreciate every single retweet I get, but I am especially grateful to all the twitter peeps who have been helping me make yard sharing a common idea and hyperlocavore.com the go to site your yard sharing needs.

A few posts about yard sharing:

On Choosing: How a Hyperlocavore Responds to Catastrophe
What is Yard Sharing?
What is a Distributed Suburban CSA Farm?
100 Reasons to Become a Hyperlocavore
A podcast interview I did with Nancy O’Mallon on aboutharvest.com
Hyperlocavore’s Youtube Channel

So you’re going to follow me back, right?

Maybe. I tend to not follow social media experts, SEO masters, multi-level marketers, ranters, sex bots, trolls or nasty people. As long as I have time I will at least check your bio. I as a rule won’t follow you if you haven’t taken the trouble to create an avatar and write a bio. I will follow some businesses and organizations back if I think we have some reason to communicate. I am currently trying to pare down though so I can be sure to pass on relevant info to people who are interested in my main topics. Please don’t be offended if I unfollow. It just means I am getting more focused on my areas of interest.

I am using TweetDeck and Hootsuite to help filter and find great people, sort, retweet and stay responsive. Both tools are fantastic and come highly recommended if you want to make the most of your time on Twitter. Hootsuite is especially good if you need to slow down a hashtag to keep up.

I will not follow you if you twitter exclusively about yourself or what happened to you today. It should go without saying that I block at will anyone I find offensive. I am not easily offended but I have no problem blocking people who treat others badly. Life is too short.

I am most interested in people who are working on positive change in their communities, people who are contributing to progress, social entrepreneurs, the scientifically curious, philanthropists, geeky green people, wonky people, burningman people, very funny people and people who respond to my jokes.

Cool! So what’s your Twitter account again?

If you are still interested you can follow me at @hyperlocavore.

* #bsg – Battlestar Gallactica

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Ten Signs You May Be A Farm Nerd

HONEY FARMER © Mrphoto | Dreamstime.com

HONEY FARMER © Mrphoto | Dreamstime.com

All Your Beets R Belong To Us!

1. You dream of learning Ruby on Rails and building a chicken coop. You can’t decide which to get started with first.

2. You have been outside working on biochar, but want to check your rendering – You get soot all over your keyboard.

3. You are hacking the timers on your soaker hose system.

4. You are making a quilt based on images of neurons. (Don’t that’s my project!)

5. You wonder if nano-particle solar paint will be available in barn red.

6. All your garden plant markers have latin names.

7. You visit instructables.com every day.

8. You note that being a farmer is a little like being a programmer. You can wear the same type of thing everyday and no one will comment. This pleases you.

9. You are really really scared of bees, but you are considering making a honey bee hive. You think beekeeper outfits are full of awesome.

10. Like most farmers you have a pest problem in the garden.  Unlike most farmers your first thought on solving the problem is the possible introduction of farm lizards.

If you answered yes:

0-2 times You are a farm nerd like Carrot Top is a comic.
3-5 times You may indeed be a bit of a farm nerd.
6-8 times You are definitely, or more accurately speaking “approximately” (of course) a farm nerd, with a margin of error of +/- .04.
9-10 times You rock the farm like Kirk rocks the Universe!

Can you relate? Mail me! Or join us at hyperlocavore.com.

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Hello to my Twitterfriends! How Very Green You Look Today!

Get your twitter mosaic here.

Next round – help hyperlocavore.com pick a logo!

Which conveys the yardsharing idea best?
Which logo is warmest?
Which do you logo?

Please note the text at the bottom will read:
A Yardsharing Community
Because everyone loves a homegrown tomato!

Thank you for helping us sort this out!

Geek Candy – Ask500people.com

When you are just starting out, and your idea seems a bit odd to people you know it is critical to get honest feedback from people you do not know. Our friends and family love us and so it’s often hard for them to tell us exactly what’s on their minds. Sometimes they are very encouraging even if our idea is disastrously dumb. Sometimes they tear our idea down just because it’s wild and woolly and they kinda don’t get it and secretly they don’t want us to leave town. And exactly what they think doesn’t really matter. Well it matters in the sense that we love them and their feelings are important to us. But what really matters is what the big world thinks.

When you need to ask the big world, take a look at Wondermill Webworks with their mighty little Google Maps mashup ask500people, a site that let’s you do instant market research for your mad scheme.

To use ask500people you simply ask a question. Format the possible responses (multiple choice, essay, yes/no.) Then let your question loose into the wide world. And the wide world starts answering. As people answer, you can see their markers pop up on the map instantly; Fargo says NO!, Calcutta says YES!, Winnipeg says YES! Albany another YES! Poughkipsee says Meh., and Vladivostok thinks you are a gigantic cretin!

As the answers roll in your heart rises and sinks.

They like me! They REALLY LIKE ME!!!

Except Vladivostok.

Ask500People - Instant market research

Ask500People - Instant market research

I’m running about 80/20 positive at the time of this blog. A banner day! I know I’m onto something. I know I can make this a go! I know I can keep tweeking to my hearts content and get the jam and the cake – the instant feedback! It’s kind of like how I imagine it feels to be a budding comic, and to be killing for your first time. Addictive.

I can quit anytime I want.

Here are my questions:

Would you consider sharing your yard to grow fruit and vegetables with friends and neighbors to save money and the planet?

Would you find this site useful? with a link to hyperlocavore.

They also have tools that allow you to target your questions to the entrepreneurial community in a focused manner. Test a logo, or a tagline, a business idea through targeting a community willing to give you honest realtime answers. I’m heading over to see what else the good people at Wondermill are doing these days. As far as I can tell their products are full of awesome.