When Tragedy Strikes, Social Media Steps Up
John Borkowski, March 14, 2011
Social Media continues to evolve into new roles. What started out as a way to send short updates to your friends where you’re going on campus, has recently made its presence on the world and economic stages. The crisis in Egypt last month and the earthquake and tsunami in Japan at the end of last week prove just how vital social media is as news correspondence.
Last month in Egypt, protestors trying to overthrow the Mubarak government used social media to broadcast to the world the events as they unfolded. All that you had to do was follow the hashtag #Egypt, and you could have real-time updates including photos and video. People all over the world tuned in to Facebook and Twitter to see these events unravel from the comfort of their home or office.
The tragedy in Japan last week shut down television, radio, and phone lines, but people were able to post their status on social networking sites in and around the epicenter of a record 8.9 earthquake. (With phone lines down, imagine the relief felt by finding out a loved one is safe per their tweets.)
So what does this all have to say about the emerging importance of social media in today’s world?
“The world of social media has become a real driving force when tragedies including the Egyptian protests and Japanese earthquake took place. It’s amazing how many images and videos were taken by people in these precarious situations.” – Kenneth C. Wisnefski, Founder and CEO of WebiMax.
People in the United States actually admitted that they found out about the tragedy through social media, not through television networks.
“The footage of the events in Japan is simply horrific and frankly, something we would have never seen a few years back. When you look at what transpired in Egypt, people were using Facebook and Twitter to coordinate and discuss events. This side of social media, albeit far less trendy than updating your status on your Facebook, really shows just how the world has evolved and how everyone is using this to truly make everyone a news consultant”, concludes Wisnefski.