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Staying Informed Through Social Media

Photo of Erica Whiteman 07/11/2012

As an expat from the US, I follow what happens over there quite closely.  As a former New Yorker, I watched the news of Superstorm Sandy even closer.  This storm was documented in a way that no other had been before through citizen journalism, photos and instant updates through social media channels.

Having lived through a few crises in New York City, I had to make a fair share of calls to my worried parents to let them know I was OK. This was prior to the instant nature of social media, so they were left wondering until I could get to a phone with service.

All of the news showed the lower part New York City underwater, the devastation in New Jersey and Long Island. Knowing my friends were affected, I followed everything that was happening. Thankfully, Facebook and Twitter posts from my friends kept me updated as they let everyone know their situation – they were ok, but without power.  And through social media the world was kept updated in real time as the power returned.

Additionally, the people affected used social photo app Instagram to document the devastation in their area – not only in New York City, but in Haiti and Cuba as well. Instagram saw a record 800,000 photos tagged with #Sandy, which has helped to create awareness on a global level.  

While social media can’t stop natural disasters or fix them, it is empowering others to help with organising clean up, donations and any other relief available. When disaster strikes, social media can definitely help everyone stay informed.