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Social Media during a disaster.

In light of Hurricane Sandy we wanted to talk about how important social media is not only to help grow your business but in all situations, especially with a destructive storm like Sandy.


Everyone knows how a disastrous situation can go horribly wrong. Not to beat a dead horse, but can we say Hurricane Katrina? When Katrina hit back in 2005 social media wasn’t the behemoth it is today. If it was, it potentially could have helped save some lives.


There might still be some people out there who want nothing to do with social media, however, they might change their mind when they are put in a situation where the only line of communication is a social one; Twitter, Facebook, etc. By 3 pm yesterday some of my family members in New York had already lost power. I knew this because it was updated on Facebook via a mobile device. In response to the earthquake that hit Haiti, Craig Fugate, Administrator of FEMA, said it’s usually not the government who provides the initial response but “individuals helping each other, trying to find out what is going on.” It is more widely and commonly used form of getting important information out to a large number of people. Schools, Universities and governmental officials use social media as a way to get information out there. Unfortunately some times they might send a tweet from the wrong account (ahem…remember Weiner?). But, if used correctly it is a great communication tool. In Long Island, NY where I grew up an air horn or siren was used as a secondary notification system. These sirens were tested regularly and after a while – you didn’t really give it any thought when you heard it. I guess if there was an actual pending situation you would. But comparing a horn to social media is like comparing a bicycle to a (yellow) corvette.


#Sandy had more than 4 million mentions in the past day by almost 400,00 unique sources on Twitter (Radian6). Hurricane Sandy was the top phrase on Facebook in the US. Instagrams CEO said they had well over 230,000 photos posted, averaging about 10 per second with #Sandy attached to it. There was even a little tête à tête between New Jersey Governor Christie and Atlantic City Mayor Lorenzo over evacuation methods or the lack of. FEMA urged their 163,400 Twitter followers to use texts or social media. The Red Cross tweeted that nearly 11,000 people spent Monday in a shelter. @CNNweather tweet confirmed over 7 million customers are without power this morning. @GovMalloyOffice reminded people that water can become contaminated and they shouldn’t try to wade or swim in it.


I personally was happy to hear from my brother although he had no phone or cell service he could still text. Other than no power and a few missing roof tiles all was well.



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