Thursday, 1 November 2012

Social Media’s role during Super storm Sandy

Super storm Sandy recently devastated the east coast of United States of America. Even now, many parts of New Jersey and New York have no power, no water, no subways, no roads and many other basic amenities of life. The cleaning operations have just begun. Even with all the new technology, inventions, satellites, hi-tech equipment that we have today, no one was able to stop the Mother Nature from causing massive destructions. However, new social media technologies such as Facebook, twitter have been a tremendous help in providing information to people, particularly those who are affected by the super storm Sandy. During previous storms such as Hurricane Katrina, there was no twitter or Facebook that broadcast the breaking news on their mobile devices instantly. People had to wait patiently and listen to the TVs or go online for latest images. But yesterday, even when the natural disaster was being struck, people took pictures, shot videos, sent tweets and posted latest updates on Facebook. According to Mashable, Instagram users posted 10 Hurricane Sandy photos per second, and provided more than 86,000 images in a 24-hour period. And this is just one such social media site. According to ABC Television, there were 4 million tweets in the last 24 hours. People were tweeting on where one could find milk, water or how bad their area was being affected by floods.

Photos and videos are only informational. Though it is difficult to exactly quantify how tweets, Facebook postings etc., affected the response time of people, I definitely believe it has aided the affected people to respond to an emergency and take effective measures.

Here are some of the social media sites which are providing latest updates, rescue operations and other related information regarding Sandy:

Storm Live Updates:

Emergency Response Information by Google

Hurricane Research Division:

National Hurricane Center
The story of hurricane Sandy told through instagram

I was monitoring the tweets and Facebook updates during the day of the storm and here are some of the sample tweets and Facebook postings:

 "RT @businessinsider: A Tree Destroyed By Hurricane Sandy Hid A Grisly Surprise by @abbyrogers",

"Here is a list of restaurants open today. @EaterNY will be updating throughout the day. #Sandy",

"RT @CuzItsFunny: Hurricanes have nice names like sandy, It sounds friendly & then kills everyone They should name them shaniqua so everyone gets out the way.",

"RT @BoingBoing: Why do electrical transformers explode? And, hey, what exactly are electrical transformers and how do they work? #Sandy",

Unlike · · Share · 5 hours ago ·
·         Still no power. Thanks to friends, we are able to take hot showers. 800,00 on Long Island have no power. University closed today (Wed) as well. Stores and gas stations all still closed. Noise of buzz saws cutting fallen branches and trees everywhere. Long Island seems to be as badly hit as any other part of the Northeast.
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S.N. Sridhar From our office in the university, which has its own power plant :)Thanks for this, we are able to heat up some food in the microwave and eat. Also glad we live 7 minutes from school.

Somehow this reminds me of a city that I have spent a lot of time in :-)

18 minutes ago ·Still no power. Cell network spotty. Two restaurants on Rt. 347 open. Thanks to friends, hot shower and prospect of a hot dinner this evening:)

"NEW YORK: This Is What Your Flooded Subway System Looked Like After Hurricane Sandy via @businessinsider",