06 Sep Staying Connected Through #Sandy
By Pooja Desai Patel
The Spark Growth team would like to extend our thoughts and prayers to the survivors and victims of Hurricane Sandy. Much of our NY team was directly impacted by the storm but thankfully, we are all unharmed and now fully with power. It is amazing to see how cities and towns have come together during this challenging time. We want to personally thank the tireless and heroic first responders, fire-fighters, medical staff, volunteers, emergency care teams, neighbors, friends, families, and countless others for their love and support.
The majority of us prepped for Sandy based on the information that we saw in the news via our televisions and computers. But, with the widespread power outages and thus, the lack of access to pertinent information, what are the best ways to stay connected during a massive storm like Sandy? For most of us, the primary source for information was our smart phones, for as long as the battery and internet lasted. While some cell towers were down and out, many were still functioning. Facebook and Twitter were the two main information hubs that people were using to get and send updates. Here are a few tips for all cities, towns, and news stations to keep their residents and viewers informed before, during, and after the storm:
- Towns/cities should set up local Facebook pages prior to the storm with: prep tips, shelter locations, volunteer opportunities, updates on local transit, etc.
- Towns/cities/news stations should set up Twitter hashtags prior to the storm so that people know exactly what to search for to get local updates.
- Mayors, councilmen, and any other community leaders should post all updates to the specific local Twitter hashtags.
- All power companies, such as Con Edison and PSE&G, should set up a storm page which directly connects to their primary Facebook page. They should also set up storm specific Twitter hashtags. Both would help update their customers as to when power should be restored in their area.
Note: All Facebook and Twitter information should be dispersed on TV, radio stations, and newspapers at least two days before a storm.
Too often people become restless and frantic when there is a lot of gossip and worst case scenario stories/pictures. The main purpose of these social media tools would be to keep communities informed and as a result, as calm as possible.
Image courtesy of New York Magazine