Never Underestimate Social Media’s Power

When I woke up this morning I was shocked by the News of yesterday’s horrific snowstorm in Atlanta; leaving thousands stranded.

Thousands of residents were unable to get home last night (Wednesday 29th January) so had to take overnight refuge in offices, cars, schools, shopping centres etc and were using social media channels to document their situations. Even the Atlanta Police Department tweeted: “If you CAN'T get through to 911 please send a message to us through Facebook or Twitter”.

Over 1,400 people joined the Facebook group ‘Snowed Out Atlanta Eastside’ as a cry for help for food, medicine and various other essentials in these horrendous conditions. Some of these group members were also people who had joined so that they could offer help to those in need. The “Atlanta School District’ used Facebook and Twitter to communicate with parents, whose children had to stay at the school overnight; responding to any concerns they may have had and posting regular updates.

Blogger Jennifer Brett posted frequent tweets and photographs of her 13 hours experience of being stranded in her car. Since returning home Brett has also written a thorough account of her experiences: www.accessatlanta.com/weblogs/buzz/2014/jan/29/our-13-hour-ride-home

This goes to show that Social Media isn’t only for chatting to friends, sending happy birthday messages and company promotion; at a time of chaos and natural disaster Social Media can be used as a mechanism to seek help and provide support. My heart goes out to all of those who were caught in the storm or had friends/family members involved.

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