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  • Social Media’s Power When There Is None

    Posted Nov 9th, 2012 By in Media, Social, YPM Blog With | No Comments

    Over the past week we have seen the devastating and breathtaking events take place across the Eastern seaboard. What was also witnessed throughout the storm was the leveraged use of social media as an invaluable tool to keep people connected and allow local authorities to communicate emergency response information.

    Pictures of the hurricane were posted from Facebook to Twitter to Instagram mainly to warn residents to clear its path or to inform followers across the country. With no power and no telephone lines working, many loved ones that could not contact family living on the Eastern seaboard, prompting tweets and Facebook posts saying “We are ok”(the most popular post the day after, according to Mashable) on social media sites to inform others that they indeed were safe.

    Many rescue authorities such as the American Red Cross used their Twitter account to inform people on what was happening, information that would be relayed to the families and people that needed the information the most. Newark Mayor Cory Booker took to the streets to help with relief efforts, while tweeting to inform others about the pending situation. Sending out tweets telling people to stay at home if they were safe and let emergency responders do their job. After helping with first responding relief efforts, Mayor Booker went back to Twitter to answer specific questions about the storm, from the pumping out of water to where people could find the nearest relief shelters.

    Local municipalities, the American Red Cross and Google utilized the power of social media to warn and inform throughout the hurricane. Unfortunately misinformation and fake notifications also found their way through the channels as well, something local authorities will need to navigate for the future.

    There’s no doubt digital communication has forever altered the reason, manner and frequency we interact with others. And while many may take issue with the incessant reports of mundane occurrences polluting large numbers of the more than 400 million daily tweets alone, no one can dispute the value it holds for those who find themselves in the middle of a hurricane left with little else but a smartphone.

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