As I reflect on the last several days in Texas at the SXSW conference, it is really impossible to pick one concept, one tech, one incident that has been the most influential. It has all been fantastic and the stories that have piqued my interest, opened my mind, raised my awareness, and changed my life are numerous and will take a while for me to really transcribe into words, actual words.

The good of people is revealed during times of tragedy. The top of this conference was veiled by a cloud of the horrific news coming in from Japan and the earthquake/tragedy that occurred at the end of last week. The threat of a tsunami hitting the Southern California coast - where I had just left my children - loomed heavy on my heart. My community rallied around me here, in Austin, seeking out information and details about them and the well being of my coastline.

They, my friends - from social media - took care of me. They made sure I was at ease, that I knew information coming in. It was an interesting lesson in practicing calm. My adult daughter at home soon used social media - Facebook - to send out a message to friends and extended family, who were worried, as the news poured in. "They were safe and all was well."

As I close out my visit to Austin, Samsung made the announcement that as a result of a group that took up residence in the front of the Bloggers' Lounge, that they were going to donate $5,000 to Red Cross through SXSWCares.org - which has already raised $40,000 in relief dollars just since Friday evening. Give back. Help, if you can. You know you can - even if it is just raising awareness.

Tweet or message to SXSWcares.org or your local chapter of the Red Cross.

I am so lucky to have a family who is safe in our home that is still intact. I watched a mother tell her story in Japanese of how the water ripped her daughter from her arms and how she just hoped she was ok. Wow. We are so lucky. Thanks to my community - for the love, peace of mind, and hope.

By rayannethorn

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