Hurricane #Sandy: The Value of Social Media in a Crisis

This article talked about various social media efforts taken during hurricane sandy to connect people, alert people of unsafe places, and alert reaction efforts.

Technologies Used:

  • Google’s Crisis Map: This map showed information and specific places affected by the storm, the path of the storm, shelters, operational gas stations etc.
  • Facebook: statistics done showed that “we are ok” was the most common status updates post Sandy
  • Twitter: ““Over 127,000 pictures tagged #Sandy were posted on Twitter”
  • Instagram: “520,000 images tagged #Sandy were shared on Instagram”

This article also talked about the downside of social media, which we discussed in class, which was a big problem during this storm.

I think social media is a vital resource in the aftermath of disasters. But, people must take tweets for example, with a grain of salt during disasters like this, because these social media forums are not news sources they are social media outlets. In addition it is important to remember, as mentioned in class, that a network built up before disasters is important or else there is no way to connect to people, and the social media cannot be used to it’s fill capacity. Despite this, Twitter and Facebook were great ways during Sandy to know if loved ones were okay and safe. Hopefully twitter and facbeook will play a large part in uniting relief efforts post Sandy.

Furthermore, I did research into what would have happened if there was social media involved when hurricane Katrina hit, and came across this article. This article stated that there actually WERE some forms of social media used (outside of Facebook and Twitter). For example, blogs and wiki’s were used. More specifically, The Katrina People Finder Project was created to help people unite with their families who were separated from the storm. This basically was one central data base that collected information on missing persons from various blogs and wiki’s. “The Katrina PeopleFinder Project enlisted virtual volunteers to enter data about missing and found people from the various online sources.” I think that this is very interesting because we think social media as this recent creation that has emerged in that past couple of years, but here we see the connection of people created by the onset of social media back in 2005 when Katrina hit.

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One response to “Hurricane #Sandy: The Value of Social Media in a Crisis

  • npham2

    During disasters times is when we see how useful and widespread social media has become. Back then during Katrina, one would never thought social media would be used as a form of communication. As seen through Isaac and Sandy, social media can be so helpful. During Katrina, blogs were used, but it wasn’t as comprehensive as Facebook or Twitter now. Currently on Facebook, you can instantly get news of love ones during disasters all at once in one places unlike before, where you have to go from blogs to blogs. Social media made things so much more convenient now.

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