With so many of us now connected to multiple social media platforms, we are all aware what a powerful marketing tool social media can be. We are now also beginning to realise ways in which we can harness its power to help people.
Social media was a primary source of communication following the earthquake and tsunami in Japan. In disaster situations, after survival, there is a human need to connect. Conventional telephone lines often go down, or are overwhelmed, whilst internet connections are still active and usable. Thus people found they could use networks like twitter or facebook to send warnings, relay and receive information and news updates, ask for help and let friends and family know they were safe.
As a result, many international organisations are now implementing social strategies into emergency management plans. A great example is American Red Cross who have recently partnered with Dell to build a Digital Operations Center. During emergency and disaster situations, the center will analyse and use social conversation to make decisions and organise relief efforts.
One of social media’s greatest strengths is in the ease and speed that information can be disseminated. There is great potential for Government, council and humanitarian organisations to use it to connect with and build resilient communities.
Yours in realising potential,