How Social Media is Changing Disaster Response

More than 66% of adult online users are connected to one or more social media platforms.

Source: mashable.com via Melissa on Pinterest

Social media is no longer just about keeping in touch with friends, or getting the latest scoop on Hollywood gossip — it also serves as an emergency management communication tool. According to the American Red Cross, receiving news online is the 3rd most popular source for emergency info. When an emergency does arise, 18 percent of the general population will turn to Facebook to gather more information about the emergency, while 24 percent would turn to social tools to let others know they are safe.

During a time of crisis, individuals look to social media as a means to communicate with one another – sending photos of damage, checking the safety of friends and family or passing along news and updates about the disaster’s effects. But people also look to social media channels for information from government agencies and companies.

There are several reasons why your disaster plan should include social media, especially considering  such data based  services like Social Media, texts and emails are less likely to experience a network congestion that often plagues the phone lines during an emergency.

Have you incorporated Social Media into your disaster planning?

What do you think when online tools are used to help people during a crisis? Would you turn to Google, social media or crowd-mapping sites in an emergency?

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