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Social Media and Networks During Hurricane Sandy

We’ve all seen the news explode with stories about Hurricane Sandy and all the catastrophic effects of the storm. But many have overlooked is that beyond the news, weather channels, and government announcements, social media is also driving emergency responses and updates.

“Sandy” has surged to the number 2 most talked about topic of the year, according to Facebook’s Talk Meter, a tool that the social network uses to measure conversation. Statuses have exploded on Facebook, allowing people to update their family and friends about their condition, with the phrases “we are OK”, “power” and “damage” being some of the most popular terms. Facebook also focused efforts on updating its Global Disaster Relief page, created in 2010 in response to the Haiti earthquake, with information from the National Weather Service and Red Cross. Google has also promoted certain pages to the top of its search results, with most of them related to government emergency response sites, sites with information on how to prepare for hurricanes, and also crisis maps for affected states.

Google also enlisted the help of Facebook by promoting emergency relief pages on Facebook in their search results. The promoted search results from the web search giant combined with the pages and huge user base of Facebook could definitely expedite the spread of information.

Undoubtedly, social media played a huge role in keeping those affected connected, informed, and also updated. Many people saw government agencies, weather services, and other family and friends not only tweet updates and statuses, but also saw social networks come together in a collaborative effort to make information and help readily available by connecting victims and keeping them updated in real-time.




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October 2012