Focuses on disaster recovery planning, training, and testing of federal IT systems.
The Role of Social Media During Sandy Recovery
November 24, 2012 at 11:09 am #173594
How Facebook and Twitter changed disaster relief
Thanks to social networks, grassroots relief efforts scaled quickly and efficiently in Sandy’s aftermath, giving them a bigger presence in many places than even the established aid agencies.
FORTUNE — Here’s to Andy Wandilak, the owner of Two Boots Pizza in Park Slope Brooklyn. On the day Hurricane Sandy decimated entire neighborhoods of New York, he offered to feed and shelter the family of a musician who plays at his restaurant. The guy’s descriptions of the storm’s aftermath were tragic. So Andy started cooking. He used Facebook and Twitter to ask the restaurant’s patrons for support. By the weekend, he was serving up roughly 1,500 cups of soup daily.
This kind of superhuman volunteering has always been central to any relief effort, but Hurricane Sandy has showcased how social technologies can cause Andy’s small initiative to scale quickly. Ad hoc relief efforts like Occupy Sandy have attracted attention for this already. An outgrowth of the Occupy Wall Street Movement, Occupy Sandy is a loosely organized group of activists-turned-volunteers who have been using the web and mobile devices to bring food, supplies and help to people in need. But beyond Occupy, there are many individuals who have stuck a flag in the digital sand and declared themselves the captains of relief efforts. Facebook groups I have recently “liked” include “Nobodys Helping Everybody” (168 likes), “Rockaway Relief” (9,311 likes), and “Giving Back to those Affected by Sandy” (3,975 likes).
In the hours after the floods subsided last month, there’s no question these social technologies enabled fast efficient communication. The New York City Fire Department turned to Twitter to help identify emergency needs. Displaced people turned to Airbnb to find beds, which New York Airbnb hosts volunteered to share free of charge. Heck, my sister, having heard from a friend that a nearby shelter was underserved, updated her Facebook (FB) status that she planned to make a trip down and an hour later, she had 20 bags of coats and toiletries and two lasagnas to bring.
November 24, 2012 at 11:19 am #173596
Having spent 60 days in New Orleans immediately after Katrina (Sept and Oct 2005) I will always wonder if Social Media, as we know it today, would have made any significant difference in the recovery effort.
It’s my opinion that probably not because of the TOTAL destruction of the area… We had to stay in Baton Rouge because there was NO lodging available in New Orleans (a 90 minute trip) for the first week and then we bunked in a school where we interfaced with the “victims”
FEMA was providing the ONLY Internet service and Cell phone towers were extremely rare even upto 30 days after Katrina’s landfall
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