When catastrophe strikes (be it an earthquake, tornado, or hurricane), news spreads via Twitter or Facebook before it’s even aired on TV. As more users turn to online media for local and breaking news, it only makes sense that during a personal crisis, we often reach for our smartphones to update our friends and family.
It is now stated that more than 66% of adult users are online shaping the way we communicate and react to the online world. Our actions and communication can help change the world just by how we respond to emergencies and disasters. Emergency response spans from the average individual to local organizations and governments. As the online world gains influence, larger organizations are starting to realize the importance of leveraging social media during the time of a crisis.
During any disaster, you don’t have to look far for examples of humanity. Any crisis seems to evoke a human response to help. So how does one stay aware or provide assistance?
In times of emergency, hashtags and search are your best friend. Conserve battery and only search for helpful messages. Twitter and Facebook will be a buzz with activity and the latest updates. Search for shelters, where to get help, and more importantly, post frequent updates about yourself and your location so that if needed you can be located and rescued.
As the Fall season approaches and weather takes a turn for the worst, make a Twitter list of news resources local and national and put weather updates in this list. This list will be your trusted resource. Aside from searching, you should check this list first to see what is going in your area, if you’re in any immediate danger, and if you can provide help.
As always time is precious during an emergency, if danger is imminent, your first reaction should be to seek shelter, not look at your phone. However, if you are stuck in a situation, your phone can be a wonderful resource for help – either for yourself or to be a resource for others by providing helpful updates on your various social media channels.
Have you used your smartphone during a time of an emergency or been a resource? How do you think social media is impacting emergency response? Tell us in the comments below.