To make social media an effective communication tool in a crisis, you have to build your community before the storm hits. This was no more apparent than with the recent impact of Hurricane Sandy in New York and New Jersey. Pete Hunt outlines some of what has been learned about the use of social media throughout the ongoing disaster in Hurricane #Sandy: Socializing Traditional Media.
The key takeaways from Mr. Hunt:
Three key media lessons emerged in the storm’s wake: (1) Social media is invaluable, but its limitations are significant. Twitter is useless when your phone is out of batteries. (2) Radio and other traditional news outlets still have an important role to play in emergency broadcasting. But their reach is amplified when they embed themselves within the social media environment. (3) During a disaster, the best news is local news. People will track down local information on whatever platform they can find it.
Although I am far from the Northeast U.S. where Sandy had a direct impact, I did follow the storm live, especially on Twitter, as it was unfolding. And the networks of friends and news sources in the area continue to make Twitter and Facebook the most intimate, localized way to follow how the storm and its aftermath is impacting life in the affected area.
The article is a good read if you ever envision the need to reach out and keep your community informed during a natural disaster.