Social media: The new face of disaster response

When disaster hits, both the media and the public hit the Web.


On Thursday, tornadoes ripped through Texas causing at least nine deaths.

As we enter into hurricane and wildfire season, it’s a good time to take a look at how social media has shaped disaster response.

During times of crisis, those affected—nearly 1 million people are affected by disasters each year—are beginning to use social networks as a replacement for 911 call centers.

In fact, 20 percent of disaster survivors now contact emergency responders via social media. Of those who do, 35 percent reach out to responders on Facebook, and 25 percent on Twitter.

When Superstorm Sandy pummeled the east coast last fall, Instagram was a go-to source for people to keep their social networks updated. At its peak, Instagram users uploaded Sandy-related photos at a rate of 10 every second.

RELATED: In Sandy’s wake, should brands shut up on social media?

For more on social media during disaster recovery, check out the infographic from USF’s Online MPA below, which was compiled by PR Daily reader Frankie Rendón of Creative Signals:

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