New York and New Jersey are still recovering from the devastation brought by Hurricane Sandy. When it's all said and done, weeks and months will pass and the monetary cost will be astronomical, which is to say nothing of the lives lost.
I was lucky to get little more than a few strong gusts and plenty of wind where I live. Like many people, I was glued to my Twitter feed, trying to keep tabs on what was going on all along the Northeast. I had the TV on too, but that wasn't telling the whole story. It was amazing to see Twitter come into its own as a major source of information and communication. Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey sent out a tweet in the middle of the night October 29th saying how proud he was of Twitter at that moment. Social media companies, of course, want to present themselves as being important. But during those couple days, Twitter really was a valuable resource.
If you were on Twitter that night, you know what I mean. People who had lost power relied on their phones for updates. People were RTing locations of others in desperate need. Pictures (many taken on Instagram) were shared, showing the devastation in real time. Mayors and governors were tweeting constantly, sending out instructions and alerts. For those without power, but with a charged phone, it was their only access to the outside world. And for those who were lucky enough to be unscathed, it provided a window into just how much help would be needed.
In the aftermath of the storm, Twitter continues to be used for everything, ranging from direct communication with ConEd (seriously, check out their feed) to helping people adopt animals that were left homeless or abandoned by the storm.