Effectively Using Social Media in times of Natural Disasters

Storm Sandy has managed to kick up a storm in social media circles. As Sandy seems to be surging past man-made barriers and national boundaries, Americans are staying alert using Social Media. The catastrophic damage done to human lives and property by the unimaginable force of Sandy has made us realize the importance of effectively using social media websites, such as Twitter, Facebook and Flickr. When nature turned ferocious with the mammoth sized Sandy wrecking havoc among the people of America, the intensity of destruction was felt across the world.  Natural disasters, by their very nature, come without warning.

In the wake of the crisis, people turned to social media as their source of information. With city’s streets inundated with water and the most parts of the city without power, people are communicating with one another using media tools like Twitter and Facebook. Social media is certainly not only about keeping in touch with your family and friends or following people. It plays an important role in changing the way people respond to emergencies.

Government agencies, emergency response teams and other organizations have started using media tools effectively for reaching out to people from severely damaged areas and hard-to-reach places. Most people are relying on their mobile phones to get latest information about the storm and rescue operations.

How Social Media is Effective in Times of Natural Disasters:

  • The real-time nature of Social Media:

The real-time nature of Social media makes it the perfect place to get authentic and latest information. Since people from across the country access social media sites, information about affected people is more likely to be authentic and real. More and more people seek and share information and news on social media sites so that they can get fast responses to their questions.

  • The freedom of being mobile:

Another nature of social media is it gives you the ability to be mobile.  It is understandable that in a crisis you will not be able to sit in the comfort of your room or your office patiently monitoring news and other updates. Natural disaster has the potential to make you move around a lot and also make you sit rooted to a single place.

  • Provide valuable information:

Social media is best known to provide timely and valuable information. The importance of social media is felt in times of crisis. Social media can provide updated information, steps to be taken prior to the disaster, and act as an effective communication tool.

  • Connect family and friends:

The worst affects of disasters is not being able to get in touch with family and friends. Sites like Facebook, Twitter and Flickr help a lot in maintaining communication between people.

  • Create Awareness:

Government services and agencies stretch their resources to the maximum while trying to face natural disasters. And social media lends a helping hand to these agencies. It helps in spreading information about aids, shelters, centers, evacuation plans, and emergency contact information.

  • Crisis Monitoring system:

Social media not helps in sailing through natural disasters; it also helps us in critically analyzing our current disaster management system.

The only force that can put up against any natural disaster or any disaster for that matter lies in the hearts of every individual. It is the force of resilience, the ability to withstand any destructive force and still manage to look at life’s brighter sides.

This is a guest post by Nathan Brown, a site that offers savings and current information on what is uverse,  as well as att.com services.