After large disasters, public information is very important. People want to be fully informed on the extent of the disaster, and they want to know right away. These days the quickest way to gather the latest information, most of the time, is through social media. Social media allows everyday people to report the news as they see it to a large amount of people. They can do this through Twitter, Facebook, Youtube, blogs, and much more. Average people are not the only ones using social media, and it has become a very important with emergency aid organizations.
The Congressional Research Service found that organizations use social media in emergencies and disasters in two main ways. First, to give out information and receive feedback. The second way is using social media as an emergency management tool. “Systematic usage might include using the medium to conduct emergency communications and issue warnings; using social media to receive victim requests for assistance; monitoring user activities to establish situational awareness; and using uploaded images to create damage estimates, among others”.(Lindsay)
There is no question that social media has been very beneficial in releasing information to vast amounts of people. There is still worry of the effectiveness and reliability of social media for emergencies. There have been issues of people relying too heavily on social media, and asking for help through Facebook or Twitter, rather than calling 911. There have also been many false alarms through social media, which wastes time and money. Either way, social media usage is here to stay and it will be interesting to see how emergency and disaster management continue to utilize it.
Lindsay, Bruce. Social Media and Disasters: Current Uses, Future Options, and Policy Considerations. Rep. N.p.: n.p., 2011. Print.