While you could be forgiven for considering social media as nothing more than narcissistic and self-indulgent, the reality is, in recent years social media platforms have proven their worth time and time again. In times of crisis these platforms demonstrate their capacity to open lines of communication, even going as far as playing a vital role in providing real time updates and lifesaving information which has saved countless lives.
Real Time Crisis Management:
A perfect example of the new role of social media occurred during this year’s Colorado floods. Throughout the turmoil, Twitter made locating missing loved ones possible, while those in need were able to make the necessary connections to be found, rescued or assisted by simply updating their status on Facebook or checking in through Foursquare at their location.
Additionally, push alerts on mobile phones, sent free to anyone who signed up, offered life-saving information about flooding and evacuations directly to the user’s phone.
This example alone demonstrates how social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Foursquare have opened up a two-way communication, not only between governments, businesses and aid organisations but also between news casters the public with members of the general population on the scene distributing information to thousands efficiently and personally, straight to their smart phones. So here are the facts:
- 37% use information on social media to buy supplies and find shelter.
- 25% download disaster-related apps in preparation and for support.
- 76% use social media to contact friends and family to make sure they are safe.
- 24% use social media to let loved ones know they are safe