Social Media thwarts disasters

I remember hearing (or reading) about how people trapped in the rubble of the Twin Towers used their phones to text for help, or just talk with their families while waiting for rescue. I’m not sure where I heard it from, or if it is even true , but this makes me consider another possible benefit of Social Media and how it can have a positive effect on our world.

With everyone connected through Twitter, Facebook, Linked-In, etc, there’s a possibility of increased reaction time to disasters. It’s always possible that calling for help by Cell or Land line is not an option, or worse, you get put on hold; that’s not a joke either; it’s a possibility. With Social Media like Twitter however, you can always get a message out in theory; if you have followers, then there is always someone that will see your message.

“When Hurricane Katrina ravaged the U.S. Gulf Coast in 2005, Facebook was the new kid on the block… . By the time Hurricane Sandy slammed the eastern seaboard last year, Social Media had become an integral part of disaster response, filling the void in areas where Cell Phone service was lost…”.

Using Social Media, people can “keep informed, locate loved ones, notify authorities, and express support.” Even in the midst of disaster, we can stay connected. As a result, Disaster response agencies are looking for the best ways to take advantage of this change, as this new factor “has thrown the old response playbook out the window.” Once again, we see how Social Media affects and changes an already established part of our society in the best possible way.

Sources:

*How Social Media is changing Disaster response. http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=how-social-media-is-changing-disaster-response

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