Social Media in Time of Crisis
By: Christina Roman, Intern
Here on the East Coast we’ve been experiencing a very rough two weeks. At the end of October the tri-state area was hit by Hurricane Sandy, also dubbed Frankenstorm. Neighborhoods were completely destroyed in Long Island, Queens, Staten Island and New Jersey. We’re slowly getting back on track, but one thing we realized was how important social media is today.
In the wake of the destruction, social media has helped bring out the good in people. For the past two weeks you could not log on to any social media site without seeing likes, tweets, pictures or information on how to help or who helped others affected by the storm. Charities took advantage of this surge and used social media to spread the word about helping others in need. Twitter was an excellent way to spread information about where to find places to drop off clothes, food and toiletries. People would also tweet places where you can donate money and even where to donate blood. With the gas shortage, friends and family used Facebook to tell their friends and family where the shortest lines were, which gas stations were open and which ones had power.
Also many land lines were down, people were without power and cell phone towers were overloaded to the point where cell phones could not make calls. Facebook and Twitter became ways of people letting their loved ones know they were safe. We already know how big of an impact social media has on public relations, marketing and branding and during these last couple of days, social media has made many realize that it is a lifeline to the world. People from all over the country were helping and most of it was through social media. Social media may sometimes be demonized, but we’ve also learned that it can be used to spread helpful information and accentuate human kindness.