How You Can Use Social Media in an EmergencyBy Home Security Source Jun 23 , 2011 | 8:30:00 amPosted in: Personal Safety, Internet Safety
Victims of recent natural disasters like the devastating tornado in Joplin, Mo., or the frightening earthquake and tsunami in Japan, have turned to social media as a means to connect with family, friends and emergency responders. Here are a few tips to help you use social media to your advantage in the case of an emergency.
- Consider using a mapping tool like Google Maps to help you create an escape route and meeting place. Google Maps has a feature that allows users to share maps with friends online and the maps are also printable. Consider printing out a few and laminating them.
- Make sure you have a recent photo and an accurate description of your family members on hand in case you need to give the information to authorities or post to a social community.
- Create a Facebook or Twitter account. By no means do you have to be a social media butterfly, but in the case of a mass emergency it will give you another means of communication. Twitter reported a record-breaking 177 million tweets on the day of the earthquake in Japan as well as a record number of new accounts added the day after the quake.
During an emergency
- In the event of a large natural disaster, conventional phone lines may go down or become overloaded. But Internet connections can often withstand disasters better than phone lines, making social media and email a better option.
- If you are directly affected, the news may not be as beneficial as hyper-local updates. Twitter and Facebook are both helpful because they offer real-time updates as well as location sharing.
- To find information about a disaster on Twitter, try looking for relevant search terms and look for groups or pages on Facebook that are offering resources for victims.
- Finally, remember to make sure you get reliable information. Most emergency management organizations now have a social media presence including FEMA, the National Weather Service and the Red Cross.
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