Setting aside superficial theories about the “triple bottom line”, corporate charity is a problem: the public donor will be criticized as handing over money in exchange for publicity, the secret donor will be criticized for not appearing in the published donor lists. Even before the floodwaters in Brisbane hit their peak, …
Speaking as a Queenslander...
...it's heartening to see so many people willing to donate items to those that need it. Your old tat box running XP sitting unloved and collecting dust in a cupboard is as good as a brand new PC to someone that has lost everything.
At the same time it's not easy to find out what's really happening as the media and some government mouthpieces are hyping up the impact to really stupid levels.
There have been so many patently false claims about the area that has been affected. I've seen one tweet that claimed the flooding was "bigger than hurricane Katrina" and "1 million sq miles of Queensland was under water". People retweet this nonsense without giving it a second thought when a couple of moments of research would show that the state is about 660k sq miles in total. There are plenty more similar examples doing the rounds.
A quick peek at NASA's satellite images for the flood period show the true extent of the flooding (I'll let you draw your own conclusions from those) but a lot of the media has been reporting floods of ark-building proportions.
I guess the moral of this story is one we should always consider: check the facts, check the sources, don't believe everything you see on TV or read in the papers (and their digital equivalents) and certainly take anything you see in "user-generated content" with a vast pinch of salt.
Web 2.0: it's made from wet kangaroo paws.
It's not about social media
I think a lot of the outrage about Bing Lee was not because it was on social media. Or even social media specific. It's because they placed a condition on their donation. These floods are devastating and the country has rallied amazingly. A major bank hands over $1.35million (not a promise, the cash is already given) and a retailer says - we'll donate money but only if people come and join our marketing exercise. It just doesn't sit right. And the twitters love the smell of blood. There are people out there really in need of help. If you have money to give, give it. Take credit if you like. But don't make it conditional on some marketing trick.
You write a cheque, you make a press release, your donation appears in the published list. Corollary: you earn goodwill or rather that goodwill is freely given in return. If on the other hand you make your generosity a part of a marketing scheme people will perceive your efforts as manipulative and in the context of a situation of ongoing death and suffering that clearly crosses a line.
So there's really no mysterious hidden rules - just common sense and a bit of basic human sensitivity.
@francis. I think you hit the nail on the head. I also see that the premier found tweets on situation updates got to many of those affected far faster than by conventional means. Mobile social media may have found a real use.