Tensions have been high all day. I live in a tornado prone area, and we have been under severe weather alerts this afternoon and evening. Several areas of the United States have been ravaged by tornadoes this past year. In January, houses were leveled less than three miles from where I live.
Natural and manmade disasters are just part of the human experience. Social media has proven time and time again to be an invaluable asset in times of calamity and crisis. It is a great way for authorities to spread warnings and alerts, and it has become an unofficial communication platform for families and friends. When tornadoes ripped through Alabama in April of last year, a Facebook group quickly formed that helped restore lost items to their rightful owners. The storms literally picked up and dropped items hundreds of miles from their original location.
Land lines and cell phone providers are often unavailable or overloaded in times of crisis, but it only take a few seconds of Internet access to let your entire social network know that you are safe and sound.
Facebook is testing a new feature that lets you mark yourself as ‘Safe’ when disaster strikes. Users would receive a reminder in their News Feed to mark themselves as ‘Safe’. You would also have the ability to mark other friends as ‘Safe” and add details about your current location and contact information.
In the wake of the Fukushima disaster, this Facebook feature is currently being tested in Japan, but hopefully it will be rolled out to all users soon.
It is nice to see social media used for good and not evil!
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